More tax filers anticipate quicker refund -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

More tax filers anticipate quicker refund

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

February 3, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - With the economy leaving many people strapped for cash, some are looking for a fast way to get some money in hand. For the lucky taxpayers expecting a refund, tax time couldn't have come at a better time. Some Albany tax preparers say they're busier than ever.    

Tax refunds will be somewhat of a personal stimulus plan for many tax filers and more people are looking at tax refund loans to get that financial boost in a hurry.

Outside Sowega Tax Services in Albany, the parking lot is so full that people in orange vests have to direct traffic. Inside, waiting rooms are crowded and envelopes are in hand.  People are ready to file their taxes.

"I'm extremely busy. I've had quite a few people," said accountant Alfred Hosely.

Tax season just started for accountant Hosely, but already about 1,700 people have come through the door. Konya Mitchell will now add to that number. With receipts and forms prepared, she's ready. "To get my taxes filed," said Mitchell.

This year she's considering another option as she files--a refund anticipation loan because of two words everyone keeps hearing these days. "The economy," said Mitchell, "basically the economy, because when I get paid, the bill collectors get paid."

A refund anticipation loan allows tax filers to borrow money on their anticipated tax refund amount and Hosely says more people are taking that option.

"A lot of people are strapped for cash and this is one of those opportunities where they can get their hands on some money real quick," said Hosely.

The con? That quick money comes with a fee that varies at different tax preparation offices but tougher times are causing more people to look at the pros and get paid fast. "They're coming in and the story is still the same. They want to know how much they're getting back and how fast they can get it," said Hosely.

Tax time is a welcome opportunity for filers like Mitchell. "To have some money for myself, me and my son, so we can do the things that we want to do," said Mitchell.

Those opportunities may come along faster with a refund anticipation loan and tax preparers anticipate more filers taking the same route.

Depending on the loan, people could get that money in a matter of minutes or a couple of days.  Some consumer advocates warn you to stay away from tax refund loans because some companies charge excessive interest and fees.