Please Note: The Refund Advance loan is no longer available through H&R Block.
H&R Block refund advance loans are no-interest loans that provide an advance on your tax return if you choose to file your taxes with H&R Block. These loans are usually offered at the beginning of tax season, and reward filers for getting a head start on their taxes. If you know that you’ll be getting a tax refund back from the government, these loans allow you to access that cash as soon as you file your taxes. However, personal loans are only available through a prepaid MasterCard, so they might not be the most accessible option for all borrowers.
H&R Block at a glance
|Lender||Min Loan||Max Loan||APR Range||Terms||Key Benefit|
|H&R Block||$250||$3,500||0%||N/A||Access your tax refund faster|
What we like about it
H&R block refund advance loans can have your tax refund money to you much sooner than anticipated. These interest-free loans allow borrowers to access their refunds even before the government has processed their taxes and issued a refund. Whether you’re strapped for cash and would prefer not to wait for a check or deposit from the federal government, or are chomping at the bit to spend your refund on an upcoming trip or project, these loans can give you access to your refund that much faster. If you already file your taxes with H&R Block, these loans are a nice perk available to you as a customer.
- Access your tax refund immediately
- No interest
- Good for existing customers
Things to consider
While an H&R Block refund advance loan may sound appealing — especially because it’s interest-free — there are a few strings attached. First and foremost, this loan is only available to customers who file their taxes through H&R Block. If you plan on filing your taxes by yourself, by using the services of a professional tax preparer or with another form of tax preparation software, you won’t be eligible for this loan. Also, the refund advance loan is only accessible in the form of a prepaid MasterCard, which can be inconvenient for borrowers who would prefer a direct deposit. Furthermore, there is a small window to be available for the loan. In 2020, customers could only apply for the loan between Jan. 4 and Feb. 28.
- Funds deposited onto prepaid MasterCard
- Must file taxes with H&R Block
- Fees and additional costs
What you need to know
H&R Block offers borrowers who file their taxes through the company an interest-free loan on their tax refund. Loan amounts are offered in $250, $500, $750, $1,250 and $3,500 increments. The loans are interest-free and are available to those who file their taxes early with H&R Block. To qualify for the loan, you must be eligible for a tax return, and H&R Block may also take into account other factors such as your credit score income history. If your application is approved, you may be able to access your funds within a few hours. Repaying the loan is simple, your tax refund will be directed to a Refund Account, from which the loan repayment will be deducted.
Here’s how to apply for an H&R block tax refund loan
- Gather all of the necessary materials for your tax return, including any tax forms and other relevant information.
- File your taxes using the services of H&R Block.
- See if you’re eligible for a refund.
- Apply for a refund advance loan.
- If approved, receive funds on a prepaid MasterCard or transferred via check or direct deposit.
H&R Block’s fees and penalties
While H&R Block’s refund advance loans are interest-free, there are a variety of fees associated with the loan. First and foremost, customers must pay to file their taxes with H&R Block before they are eligible to receive a loan. Since the average cost to file a tax return with H&R Block is around $147, this is a significant consideration when filing your taxes, especially if you have a simple tax situation and could perhaps file without the help of expensive software.
There are also a variety of fees associated with the prepaid MasterCard the loan comes on. These include a $3 ATM withdrawal fee, cashback fees, bill pay fees and inactivity fees. The cost of these fees will vary depending on your financial situation and how you use the card.
H&R Block refund advance loan alternatives
Jackson Hewitt also offers refund advance loans for customers who file their taxes using their tax software with loans of up to $3,200. Like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt offers fast funding. While borrowers have the option of receiving funds on a prepaid debit card, they can also get the money deposited directly into their bank account.
Owned by bookkeeping giant Intuit, TurboTax is another popular option when it comes to tax preparation software. The company offers refund advance loans of up to $2,000. Similar H&R Block, TurboTax issues loan funds onto a prepaid card. While popular, TurboTax can charge steep fees to file a return if you have a complicated tax situation or extra forms.
Liberty Tax is another tax preparation service that offers refund advance loans from $500 to $6,250 and are subject to a finance charge. The loan amount will depend on your tac refund and you can file your taxes with Liberty Tax online, or visit a branch location to file your taxes in person.
The bottom line
If you know you’ll be receiving a tax refund and are interesting in filing your taxes with H&R Block, a refund advance loan can give you access to your money much faster. Although interest-free, the loan does come with some downsides, such as a clunky prepaid card and a variety of fees. Unless you need the money, you may be better off waiting for your refund to be deposited into your account after your return is processed.
Depending on your tax situation, you may also prefer not to file your taxes with H&R Block. You can file your taxes by paper, use the services of a professional tax preparer, or do your taxes using another form of online tax software, such as FreeTaxUSA. If you make under a certain amount, you may also be eligible for the Federal Free File program, which allows qualified taxpayers to file their federal taxes for free.