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Consumer Advisory: "Instant" Tax Refunds May Be Expensive Loans

Consumer Advisory: "Instant" Tax Refunds May Be Expensive Loans

The Office of the Attorney General warns Californians to beware of high-interest loans disguised as "instant" or "rapid" tax refunds.

The Attorney General says some storefront tax preparers are luring consumers with offers of quick refund cash that really are short-term loans that can carry annual interest rates of more than 700 percent. These refund anticipation loans may require consumers to pay fees for tax preparation, electronic filing, check cashing and other so-called benefits. More information about the injunction regarding refund anticipation loans.

The Attorney General urges families who may be eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to check out free tax assistance programs in their communities before paying to have their returns prepared. To find out if you qualify for free assistance, call:

Toll-free: (800) 829-1040

Consumers who believe they have been victimized by a tax return preparer can file an on-line complaint or mail your complaint information to the:

Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

Consumer Alert

Audio En EspanolThe Office of the Attorney General warns Californians to watch out for scam artists seeking to take advantage of immigrants.
Texto Español


Consumers should not pay fees or fines to any business, organization or person claiming they can help apply for or receive benefits for a temporary worker program.

While Congress has been debating legislation, no temporary worker program exists currently for undocumented immigrants in the United States. Since the program does not exist, there are no benefits available presently.

Consumers can report suspected scam artists by contacting the Attorney General’s Public Inquiry Unit. Consumer complaints may be filed:

  • Online using the complaint form
  • Toll-free in California 1-800-952-5225
  • or (916) 322-3360.

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