Should You Apply for a Tax Refund Advance?

TaxSlayer, another online DIY service, will be rolling out its version later this month, a spokesperson says. Some tax refund loans may have interest charges which can make a small loan feel expensive. A $100 tax refund loan with Jackson Hewitt’s Early Refund Advance has an APR of 35.53%, according to the company’s website. That’s not including tax preparation and prepaid card fees, which can add up on a small loan. The Emerald Advance loan is available through December 2023. Unlike zero-interest tax refund loans, the Emerald Advance operates like a traditional loan with an APR of 35.9%.

Funding can take one to five business days if you want the loan deposited into a bank account. H&R Block’s refund advance loan is issued by MetaBank (member FDIC), the same bank used by the IRS to distribute stimulus check debit cards. The IRS generally delivers tax refunds speedily, paying out nine in 10 refunds within three weeks of receiving an electronic tax return (paper returns can take up to six weeks). In recent years, the pandemic upended normal operating procedures, pushing both the tax deadline and overall refund payout schedule back several months. If you’re approved for a TurboTax Refund Advance loan, the money won’t be directly deposited into your bank account.

  1. The Refund Advance has no interest or fees, but it requires filing your taxes with H&R Block.
  2. And while the time period during which you’ll pay that interest is likely to be short—just until your refund comes—it still means you’ll owe more to the company than you borrowed.
  3. Loans range from $250 to $2,000 and are based on your expected federal tax refund.

You’ll see Refund Advance as an option for receiving your refund. The Credit Karma Money Spend Account Only option does not include a Refund Advance. Jackson Hewitt is incredibly simple and easy to use, and has both DIY filing and options to work with a tax pro to complete your return. But, there’s no free version, even for simple tax situations. When the IRS or your state tax agency distributes your refund, the lender will automatically be repaid the amount you borrowed and the remaining money will be sent to you.

Scammers use the regular mail, telephone and email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals. Check out the latest consumer alerts and read more about the most recent tax related scams identified by the IRS. “An advance could help someone avoid severe financial setbacks,” McClary says. “But I would caution consumers to scrutinize those turbo tax advance refund high-interest products very closely.” If you’re in bind—say, finding it hard to pay debts while on federal government furlough—these products, even with interest, might serve you better than racking up interest and fines for not paying other debts, he says. You could get a lower rate on the same size loan elsewhere and then use your refund to pay it off.

That offset—an amount the IRS subtracts from your refund—may not leave you with enough to pay back the advance, she says. All features, services, support, prices, offers, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. You won’t have to do anything extra to repay your loan because it will be automatically paid back once your refund is processed by the IRS. Any remaining refund amount will be placed onto your prepaid card. You could get funds in seconds, most customers receive funds within 4 minutes of acceptance.

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While it’s appealing to be able to spend your tax refund early, a prepaid card might not give you the flexibility you need. For instance, if you want to withdraw cash from an ATM and can’t find a convenient surcharge-free machine, you might have to pay a fee to withdraw money. Although the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Some returns may require additional review and may take longer.

Tax Tools

To apply for an advance from the big three storefront companies, you’ll need to go to the tax preparer’s office. With TaxSlayer and TurboTax, which have no brick-and-mortar presence, you handle the application process online. You can find tax refund advances of up to $3,500 that are free of fees and interest. You also can get bigger advances, up to $7,000, but you will pay a hefty interest of more than 35 percent for those larger loans. Tax preparers typically require borrowers to file their taxes with them, which can come with a fee. In paying a tax preparer just to get the advance, you’re basically paying to access your own money.

Tax refund advance loans are short-term loans that are repaid through your upcoming IRS tax refund. Loans are usually offered from December through February, and amounts can range from $100 to $6,500. In most cases, the loan amount is deducted from the tax refund once it’s issued. If you are approved for a Refund Advance, you’ll be notified by email and the Refund Advance loan amount that you qualified for will be deposited into your Credit Karma Money™ checking account.

Residents of Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17 to file their taxes because of state holidays, and people living in federally declared disaster areas may also have more time to file. Another group that could see bigger refunds are low-income families with children, given an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The maximum credit for the 2023 tax year is $7,430, up from $6,935 the prior year.

1 If you choose to pay your tax preparation fee with TurboTax using your federal tax refund or if you choose to take the Refund Advance loan, you will not be eligible to receive your refund up to 5 days early. 5 day early program may change or discontinue at any time. Up to 5 days early access to your federal tax refund is compared to standard tax refund electronic deposit and is dependent on and subject to IRS submitting refund information to the bank before release date. Many predatory lenders will market personal loans as refund advances during tax season, but they’ll charge excessive interest rates and fees.

Instead, it will get loaded onto a Turbo® Visa® Debit Card. The same goes for any remaining refund you’re owed once the IRS issues the funds. The IRS reminds taxpayers the deadline to file a 2023 tax return and pay any tax owed is Monday, April 15, 2024. Taxpayers living in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2024, due to the Patriot’s Day and Emancipation Day holidays.

H&R Block refund advance

3 A connected paycheck or one time direct deposit(s) of at least $750 is required for activation. Your direct deposit(s) must be received in the 2 calendar months prior to application or within a calendar month 90 days after application submission to activate your plan. Credit Builder plan requires you to open a line of credit and a savings account, both provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Credit Builder is serviced by Credit Karma Credit Builder. Members with a TransUnion credit score is 619 or below at the time of application may be promoted to apply for Credit Builder. If your score increases over 619, you may no longer see these prompts.


If you expect money back from the IRS this tax season and you’re looking for a fast way to get cash, a tax refund advance could work for you. Just be aware of how they work to avoid unexpected costs. Loan apps provide a low- or no-fee advance on your paycheck. You can typically borrow up to a few hundred dollars, and the app will withdraw the advance amount from your bank account on your next payday. However, loan apps may charge a subscription fee, a fee to get funds faster or ask for an optional tip. These apps can be helpful if you need funds quickly, but they aren’t a long-term solution.

Not sure if a TurboTax Refund Advance loan is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

Homeowners who tapped expanded home energy tax credits might get a bigger refund, he noted, as well as people whose incomes didn’t keep up with inflation. The tax preparer will automatically deduct the loan amount, plus any interest, from your refund when the IRS releases it. H&R Block’s Refund Advance loan is available starting in January 2024.