Feb 2, 2012 8:47 PM by Trovette Tottress

"Refund Anticipation Loans" soon to be thing of the past

Like many Colorado families, the Luceros are struggling to make ends meet. The family of seven hoped to receive a "refund anticipation loan", a short term loan repaid with borrower's income tax refund. But when they went to file their taxes, they were told the loans were no longer available.

"Had I not needed the loan we wouldn't had went to H&R Block", said Roberta Lucero.

And now because of the fees to file their taxes, they fell further in the hole.

"H&R Block fees were $263 dollars. That can be [the difference] between shut off bills...gas in my van [or] groceries in my fridge", said Roberta Lucero.

Only a few tax preparation offices offer refund anticipation loans; but not for much longer. Starting next tax season, RAL's will no longer be available. Michele Milner with 211 said it's a good thing the loans are going away.

"Using a "RAL" they are paying to have their own money back and usually it's very costly", said Michelle Milner.

But when you're desperate and in need, said the Luceros, it's a fee you might be willing to pay.

"I don't know by the government stopping this if they are really helping or hurting people", said Thomas Lucero.

"Who is the government to tell me that I can't get a loan against my own money? If I'm agreeing to these fees, which if at the time I need the loan, it should be my right ", said Roberta Lucero.

As of now the bills will have to wait to be paid.

I can't make the IRS do it any faster. I can't make H &R block give me a loan that they are not authorized to give. I mean, I just have to sit and wait and at this point its, very frustrating", said Roberta Lucero.

After we contacted H&R Block, the company did refund the Luceros their tax preparation fees. The Luceros are expecting their refund check from the IRS on February 15th.


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