H&R Block Sues HSBC over Tax Loans


The nation’s largest tax preparing service, H&R Block has taken up a lawsuit against HSBC bank USA over the latter’s alleged backing out of funding tax refund loans given out by H&R. The loans, known as Refund Anticipated Loans (RAL), are due to expire next year. This comes on the back of the new IRS move announced in August to discontinue the practice of disclosing Taxpayer Debt Information (or tax indicators) which gives details of how much each taxpayer is entitled to receive in terms of refunds against what he or she owes in back taxes, child support and student loans. The ten-year practice of the IRS to divulge tax indicators will end soon and without these indicators, banks who underwrite the loans fnd it diffcult to assess the loan-worthiness of the borrowers.

With funds from banks getting scarce and the diffculty in getting underwriting, the cost of the high-interest RALs will increase when the new tax season begins in January. Getting approval for RALs is also expected to become more diffcult. Typically, RALs are used by taxpayers from the lower-income group who cannot obtain credit from other sources.

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