Taxpayers using free e-file system get refunds just as fast as loans

Taxpayers using the federal government's e-file system can get their cash refunds within 10 days, or nearly as quickly as the short-term loans offered by some tax preparers that cost up to 25 percent of the proceeds. So take that, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt!

Anyone with an adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less can use the FREE online tax preparation site maintained by the Internal Revenue Service. That's about 70 percent of all U.S. filers, according to the IRS.

The agency can process a return and issue a refund within 10 days, Commissioner Doug Shulman says. That's down from as long as 8 weeks in prior years.

"Refund Anticipation Loans are often targeted at lower-income taxpayers," Shulman said. "With e-file and direct deposit, these taxpayers now have other ways to quickly access their cash."

So next time tax season rolls around, use the IRS website to file and get some cold, hard cash delivered quickly to your bank account without paying high fees for a short-term loan.

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