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NH Families Lose Almost $7 Million In Tax Filing Fees Each Year

April 2, 2008

Concord, NH - A lot of people in New Hampshire are paying a lot more than they need to just to pay their federal taxes - money they could surely use for themselves. The Children's Defense Fund says many working families who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit pay a total of almost seven million dollars each year in tax preparer fees and interest on refund anticipation loans and checks.

Ed Shelleby with the CDF says that's money the taxpayers need.

"Most people use the EITC, when they get it returned, to buy things like clothing for their children, or to catch up with utility bills, or to pay for rent, or repair for their car."

Shelleby says predatory tax preparers pick the pockets of low-income tax filers across the country, and he wants to make sure the neediest keep more of their money.

"Each year, about three billion dollars go to these predatory commercial tax preparers, which is money out of the pockets of millions of families across the country."

Fee-based filing companies say they provide a helpful service, and refund anticipation loans put much-needed funds into taxpayers' hands quickly. Shelleby says filers can get free help though the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. They host sites in libraries, senior centers, and even Wal-Mart stores across the state. There's no charge for their help, and they won't try to sell you a high-interest, short-term refund advance loan.

John Robinson/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - NH