I filed my taxes early this year, so I had almost forgotten tax time was heating up. Then I got a press release about RALs, or "Refund Anticipation Loans," which some of the big tax preparers offer.
It's tempting to some taxpayers to grab the quick money a RAL offers, and I know a lot of people have plans for their tax refunds and need the cash right away, but RALs are kind of silly. If you e-file, you'll get your tax refund in less than two weeks (I got mine this year in 11 days). Why borrow and pay fees when you'll get the full refund in another 10-14 days?
I'm told that people who take out Refund Anticipation Loans typically pay 19% interest. That's a very expensive, very short term loan. Why bother?