Officials warn of hidden fees in tax refund advance programs

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Indiana's Attorney General says he's been getting complaints about hidden fees in programs that offer tax money up front.

The refund advances, or loans, are offered at many big tax providers. They allow people to get money up front, before their taxes are processed, but Jeremy Brilliant at the AG's office said they can end up being more costly than just waiting for your refund.

"In one case, a person filed a complaint and said that he was anticipating a large tax return and in fact paid $400 in fees and got nothing," Brilliant said.

We found big companies offering the services online. One at H&R Block offered up to $1,250, but if you go to the bottom of the site, you find fine print noting "additional fees, terms, and conditions apply."

Another person who filed a complaint said that the debit card he received charged a $35 fee twice for him to take money out.

The refund advances are legal and Brilliant said they don't fall into the category of a scam, so in most cases you won't get fees back.

"Look at (the fine print). Read it, because you might have to pay quite a bit in fees to get money that you deserve to receive in the first place," Brilliant said.

If you feel you've been mislead or deceived by tax services, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General by callingĀ 317-232-6330 or 800-382-5516, or by visiting Indianaconsumer.com.

You can also get tips to find a reputable tax preparer from the IRS at the link here.

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