I usually go to H&R Block to have my taxes prepared, but I moved in the late spring of last year, and where I live, the Jackson Hewitt office is closer. So I went out on a limb, and decided that I'd give them a try. The preparation went smoothly, and I opted for the Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL).
My total for the preparation fees came to $400.95, which is a bit steep, but nonetheless, I did not mind paying these fees, because i needed the money promptly, and as we all know, there's a price to pay for convenience. January 31st was the day that I filed my taxes; February 1st, it was accepted by the IRS; February 2nd, I was informed by the automated 1-866 number that the bank denied my RAL, and a paper check would be issued in 8-15 days.
Now- I have a bit of a problem with this. why was I denied? I can't seem to get an answer from anyone. In the past two years, I've gotten the money back in the form of an RAL, the very next day, with no problem. What is the bank's decision based on? It can't be my credit score, because my score is in the 700's.
It's definitely got me annoyed, because I could have gone to a small, independently owned office here in town, and had my taxes prepared for $65. Or, I could have gone online and done it myself for free. Either of these two options that I had would have left me waiting about two weeks for the IRS to direct deposit the money into my bank account. But as I already stated, I needed the money faster, so I decided against those options.
Now I have to wait for the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust to recieve my money from the IRS, print a paper check, and send it to the local office. When it arrives there, They're supposed to contact me, and then I can go pick it up. I gave them my bank account and routing numbers- why aren't they direct deposting the money into my account, which is what I gave them that information for? It all sounds a bit fishy to me, and from all of the complaints I've seen, it seems like the bank doesn't even have the funds to "front" the money to people.
And the funniest thing is- they're referring to my refund check that I will be receiving as an "assisted refund check". How is it assisted? It's the money coming directly from the IRS. Is it assisted because they're having it deposited into thier account first? I've been informed that there will be a $29.95 processing fee for them handling my money for me, when I requested direct deposit to begin with.
In the end, it's as simple as this- Jackson Hewitt should not falsely offer a "rapid refund" if they don't have the resources to supply this service. I paid SIX times the amount of what it would have cost me to file with the local independent office, and in the end I will receive the money in the same amount of time, if it doesn't actually take longer. It's a gimmick, a way for them to make more money off of you, by promising something they cannot deliver.
I'll never use Jackson Hewitt again, that's for sure. I'll stick with my good ol' H&R Block, or do them myself. I can't say that I enjoy this ride that I've been taken on. It's not what I signed up for.
Port Royal, South Carolina