Wisconsin Officials Tell Taxpayers To Beware Of High Interest Refund Loans

State revenue and consumer protection officials are on the road this week to encourage taxpayers to avoid high-interest tax refund loans.

The state wants taxpayers to file electronically and get a faster refund.

More than 114,000 Wisconsin taxpayers got refund loans in 2003, paying out more than 28 million in fees. The I-R-S says more than half were families poor enough to qualify for the federal earned income tax credit.

Wisconsin Bankers Association spokeswoman Cheryl McCollum says many people turn to the loans because they don't have a bank account, which they need to get a fast direct deposit electronic refund.

H-and-R Block is among companies offering the so-called refund 'anticipation' loans. Spokeswoman Jenny Foster says for many people the loans are a solution they find helpful.