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Tax Refunds Come Early For Some

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By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Everyone wants the 2008 tax refund as soon as they can get it.

Tax payers who want to receive their returns in advance, can get their money on a prepaid credit card.

"This out third year for the emerald card," said Goldie West of H&R Block. "It has gone over fantastically. About 50 percent of our client base will take the emerald card." 

H&R Block is one of several tax preparing agencies that offer the cards as an option to get your refund faster, usually one to three days.

"The target area is our unbanked client base, West said. "If they don't have a normal banking relationship, and they're having to go to a check casher and pay high check-cashing fees. We're trying to save them from that."

The refund is called a Refund Anticipation Loan, or RAL, but there are fees associated with this option.

Fees kick in if the card is used at different ATM's. If a tax filer wants a paper check, there's a $29 fee on top of the tax preparation fees.

"It is the responsibility of the person who sets up the RAL to provide the taxpayer with that kind of information," David Stell of the IRS said. "The taxpayer makes their own financial decision whether they're willing to pay the fees to get the money a little bit faster." 

For some people, that's the best option, especially if they need money immediately to pay bills.

It also gives some them opportunity to get a credit card they otherwise wouldn't have.

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