Jackson Hewitt Gets Jacked

Posted on 03. Jan, 2008 by in Credit & Debt, News, Taxes

(Saw that headline today on Forbes and couldn’t resist!)

As you know, I am adamantly opposed to any Company who markets products (especially financial products) that harm or take advantage of consumers who don’t know any better. For example, Pay Day Loan brothels (yes, I said brothels) take advantage of people in need of short-term loans by charging interest rates as high as 1,600% (no, that’s not a typo).

Another product that has become increasingly popular is the Tax Refund Anticipation Loan. This loan, offered by companies such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt, allows you to walk out with cash in the amount of your anticipated tax return – for a fee. In fact, you don’t even have to complete your return! You can walk in, hand over your last pay stub, and walk out with a loan in the amount of your estimated tax return.

Well, the IRS has finally stepped in to put a stop to this ridiculous business practice. Citing tax fraud as its reason, the IRS has proposed restrictions on tax data used in refund anticipation loans. Basically, the IRS is stating that the tax information you hand over as part of your loan application is not allowed to be used for the purposes of getting a loan. And apparently from the reports coming out today, it seems that many people (and companies) didn’t exactly tell the whole truth on their applications, leaving banks with a huge difference between the amount loaned, and the amount of refund received from the IRS.

I for one am glad this revenue stream has dried up for tax preparers who have used this as a way to create more business. Your tax preparer should not be advertising loans using money you have not yet received. Your bank and tax preparer should be independent so that you can get fair and unbiased information from both. If the tax preparers are too focused on getting you a large refund only so that you can get a bigger loan – and they can get a bigger fee – then fraud is bound to occur.

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10 Responses to “Jackson Hewitt Gets Jacked”

  1. rt

    04. Jan, 2008

    There are many ways to defraud the IRS without refund loans. The refund loans made by these companies fully disclose the costs involved. The percentages charged for the loans appear outrageous because of the short term nature of the loan. The dollar amounts are not that much given the risk the bank is taking. The people that do these loans are willing to pay the cost to receive their refund now! I don’t think government intervention will help people see the light. They’ve see the light and still want their money now. It is their right and choice. Who’s to say that their choice is not the best for them?

  2. mfm

    04. Jan, 2008

    No checkstub loans being offered this year.

  3. Jason Guthrie

    04. Jan, 2008

    I suppose I believe that taking out these high-interest short-term loans is just one more step to financial ruin. Sure, it’s their right and their own decision… but I believe that when too many people follow down that path, it hurts us all. Economic prosperity is helped along when everyone is doing well – not just those who haven’t fallen into a trap like this.

  4. jacked again

    24. Jan, 2008

    Here is a look into the smaller fishbowl! As many of their clients already know, Jackson Hewitt has been aiding and abeting fraudulent tax returns providing ways to make their clients thousands of dollars spewing from the US Department of Treasury. I believe this has indeed pushed out large sums of money to people who do not work as hard where the honest tax payers suffer in this rediculous scheme receiving very little or nothing. My point, Jackson Hewitt and the banks involved have increasingly taken advantage of their customers, however, some of their clients are not innocent as well. Many of them LIE to get that bigger refund and JH promotes it!!!

  5. Jessica Hanes

    07. Feb, 2008

    I am a client of Jackson Hewitt and tried to do my taxes with my last pay stub and was told that this was not an option this year. I am very pleased with my service from them. I have been a client with them for many years now. I am very aware of all the fees for a refund anticipation loan they explain it very clearly to me every year. thank you very much Jessica Hanes

  6. Dw

    07. Feb, 2008

    I just have to say these people that get these refund anticipation loans know what they r doing. dont blame the tax offices for these people ignorance. they r very aware of the fees nothing is hidden behind close doors for them and they know the system trust me we dont help them out. they walk into theese offices and say one thing and find out it is illegal then turn around and go some where else to file the fraudulant return. i promise you my office will turn down a customer that is trying to file HOH if they r married we dont 250,000 dollars in our back pockets nor do we have the time to do a min of 5 years in prison. so dont put the blame on us thank you dw
    ps my income is way over the eic bracket and i dont know how me and my husband survive off of what we make and it just kills me to see someone come in and have only made enough to max out the eic.
    i feel that the eic bracket should be raised for the people who r trying to make a living without the goverment.

  7. Carl

    29. Dec, 2009

    When I was 25 and my son was born and I needed my refund FAST and I had no money to pay for it. Thank God I had an option!

    The idea that anyone needs to protect people from refund loans is absurd! Everyone knows what they are paying for and they choose to accept it for various reasons. For example at H&R Block you can choose to receive a Refund Anticipation Check which costs around $30. The benefit to this is you are not required to pay up front for the service and you receive tax preparation as well and efile and direct deposit at no additional cost. The $30 price is a direct result of the banks risk in lending the money. You may not realize this but not everyone who files a tax return will receive the expected refund and then the bank has lost the money they lent. Also the tax office and tax professionals receive none of this money! It’s simply a benefit to those who choose to use it.

    As for the interest rate, it is a set price which causes the high percentages but those who think it’s evil will point out the high percentage to prove their point. Example: *but not exact. If you get a loan on $4,000 for a fee of $79 and the loan is paid off in 1 day then the annual interest rate is something like 400%, but you still only paid $79 dollars! Anyway it’s easy to use numbers and enrage people as if somehow you need to save everyone from themselves.

    I am grateful that my family no longer needs to utilize these services. But I will back anyone who needs them and never judge them as if they are too stupid to make the decision.

  8. ROB

    06. Jan, 2010

    I think a look into why these loans are so popular and if Refund Anticipation Loans were banned why the customers who use these products would still do there taxes at places like JH or Block. If these loans were banned I promise that these customers would not wake up and become responisbile and see the light and act like late season customers.

    With Clintons Welfare reform we went from redistributing wealth through the welfare system to redistributing the wealth through our tax code. Alot of these customers get 25 percent to 50 percent of all money they make in a year when they file there return and they get this lump sum. So you take the most irresponisble people in this country and give them this large sum of money I hope everyone realizes that expecting them to do the smart responisble thing is kinda silly since in life they usualy make all the wrong decisions and with or without RALs they will still make the same bad choices.

    This problem is a responsibility and education problem and in this country you cannot ban bad choices!!

  9. Name M.D

    28. Nov, 2010

    I have used Jackson Hewitt for a number of years and never have I once saw fraudulent behavior in their business. What a taxpayer chooses to do with their money Is Their Business period so who am I to judge how one handles their finances are again their business a person works hard all year long and if there are resources for them to file early and they are doing it legally so what who knows one situation like one lady said she had just given birth and that money came in handy so with that being said they should keep the loans available to people who really need them and just make it harder for the ones who are abusing it !

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