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Illinois AG warns of tax-refund fees and loans

Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 7:27 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO — The Illinois attorney general's office is warning the public to be on the lookout for the high cost of tax-refund anticipation products.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says her office is watching closely after a recently-enacted state law prohibiting so-called "junk fees" for refund products.

She says that with the deadline for filing annual tax returns, it's important not to be fooled.

Some tax preparers advertise refund anticipation loans as an option to get instant cash back based on an anticipated return. However, Madigan says these products are like short-term loans filled with fees automatically deducted form a taxpayer's refund.

Madigan says most banks have stopped offering such loans as option at the federal level. However, several non-bank lenders have started offering them. Madigan says consumers won't receive refunds any faster.

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