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Rapid Refunds = Rip-Off

Avoid bank products like rapid or “instant” refunds. These are very costly and the cost is somewhat hidden.

They are costly because you aren’t really getting your refund, but a short term loan. These loans must go through a bank or other intermediary, and they charge a substantial fee. They have risk, because your refund may not be issued. If you owe back taxes, child support, or student loans, your refund will be taken to pay those debts. Or, your refund may be held up unexpectedly due to things beyond your control (e.g., identity theft, someone else claimed your dependent, etc). So the bank fees are substantial.

They are somewhat hidden, buried in your payment, and you might not realize it. If your refund was supposed to be $5400, and their fees are $400, you will only receive $5000. You may think a $5000 is great, and want it right now! But you just paid $400 to get your own money two weeks earlier.

Good news, bad news – retroactive tax changes

Good news.  New legislation passed February 8, 2018 extends through 2017 several tax breaks that had expired in 2016. That is good news for many taxpayers.

While there are many, many provisions in the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018”, the most common breaks affecting our clients in Ohio are the following:

  • Mortgage insurance premium deduction (PMI)
  • Tuition and fees deduction
  • Energy credit
  • Qualified principal residence debt exclusion (very significant for those foreclosed on in 2017)

Bad news. This retroactive change means taxpayers may not have the necessary information to include on the tax return. For example, your mortgage interest statement may not have included the PMI amount.Or you may not have kept the receipts for the energy efficient windows, furnace and insulation you purchased in 2017.

Some taxpayers have already filed and will need to amend their tax return to tax advantage of the updated law.

Lastly, taxpayers who want to take advantage of these provisions will have to wait until tax software is updated and approved.

"We actually enjoy doing taxes!"