Stop Giving Away Your Tax Refund!

I'm not a fan of the large tax preparation services.

Where I live, their offices are only open for a finite time and in my opinion take more from a neighborhood than they contribute.

I know the purpose of a business is to make money.  I didn't fail capitalism 101.  Nonetheless, I'm a firm believer that when you make money in a neighborhood, you should at the very least give something back.

Something other than temporary jobs and a shuttered site for seven months of the year.

In Woodlawn the average median income is a tad over $20,000; the last thing people need to spend money on is tax preparation or be enticed by a refund anticipation loan.

But I've got good news.

If you make $25,000 & under as an individual or $50,000 as a family, you can get your taxes prepared for free at various locations around the city.

Or if you make $50,000 or under, you can make an appointment at the Chicago branch of the IRS to also have your taxes done for free.

Granted you have to go down there in person and probably wait in a long line just to make the appointment, but what you spend in time you'll get back in money.

No ridiculous fees that border on predatory, no up sells, no putting your money on a card. Refund in the bank---no muss, no fuss.

The large corporate tax preparers are doing just fine.  No need to give them any more money than you have to.

 

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  • The loans are probably part of the scam. There is too much small type in the ads, but apparently one gets the freebie only if it is a 1040EZ and the customer pays to apply for the earned income credit, as well as pay to have them do state taxes.

    As far as "refund anticipation loans," people should figure out that there is no need for a refund if one adjusts one's withholding or estimated tax appropriately. However, based on the EIC, I would suppose that most of the people to whom these offers are directed have a net negative tax rate. Even in that event, the W-4 has a place to mark "exempt" if one didn't pay tax this year and don't expect to pay it next year.

    On the other hand, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that because of massive errors, having the IRS do it for free isn't worth the price. Again, though, maybe not for the target consumer.

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