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PNS Daily Newscast - August 12, 2020 

Former VP Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate; some schools have science-based metrics for open classroom instruction.

2020Talks - August 12, 2020 

California Sen. Kamala Harris will be on the ticket with Joe Biden in November. Four states had primaries yesterday, and two had runoffs. Georgia and Wisconsin appear to have improved since last time.

Tax Time's Coming - With Its Very Own Grinch

December 21, 2006

According to a new report from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, over 130,000 Wisconsinites take out "refund anticipation loans" each year to pay for tax prep and quick access to cash. Spokesman John Keckhaver says the loans target low-income communities, don't speed up refunds very much, and cost an average of $250, a high percentage of the actual refund.

"This siphons off millions of dollars every year from what has been a very successful anti-poverty program, which is the earned-income tax credit."

Some larger tax prep firms have recently announced changes in their refund anticipation loans, including more disclosure of costs and alternatives. The report says Wisconsinites paid over $32 million for the loans in 2004, the most recent data available.

One option for low-income filers is to use a "VITA" site, a volunteer-operated tax service. Accounting professor Phil Bice directs a VITA site at UW-La Crosse.

"We can help them if they care to do their own filing, and we certainly have the ability to electronically file from our site. It's very quick and straightforward, and without a fee, of course".

For a local VITA site, you can call the state Department of Revenue at 608-266-2772.

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WI