If you use a paid preparer, be sure to ask about electronic filing, direct deposit, and other options to speed up payment of refunds. If you use direct deposit, you can receive your federal tax refund in 8 to 14 business days. Avoid using Refund Anticipation Checks (RAC), or Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL).
Refund Anticipation Check (RAC)
A Refund Anticipation Check (RAC), or Refund Transfer, is a high-priced way to delay payment of tax preparation fees. A RAC will not speed up your refund.
Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL)
A Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) is a high-interest loan that you must pay back to the bank. It is not an "instant refund."
It’s illegal for a tax preparer to disguise an RAL as an "instant refund," a "rapid refund," an "express refund," "fast cash," "preFund," or by any other similar term that hides the fact that an RAL is a loan.
Using an RAL will cost you money and lower the total amount of the refund that you receive. While the tax preparer who offers the loan can’t add charges or fees for preparing your RAL application, the bank making the loan can charge fees and interest.
You can get more information about RALs in the Tax Preparation Service Guide.