If you’re someone, like me, who’s waiting for your income tax refund but you need immediate cash, you might want to consider applying for a tax refund loan. I discovered that this is a great way for me to access my refund earlier. 

There are a few tax preparation services companies in the US that offer this kind of loan. One of these companies is Intuit, which offers a tax refund loan called TurboTax Refund Advance

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In this article, I will talk about the TurboTax Refund Advance loan, its features, interest rates and fees, and how to apply for one. If you want to know more about this loan, continue reading the article below.

  • Understanding How Tax Refund Loans Work
  • Examining the TurboTax Refund Advance Loan
  • How the TurboTax Refund Advance Loan Works
  • Fees, Charges, and Interest You Need to Know About
  • What’s Next After Qualifying or Not Qualifying?
  • The TurboTax Mobile App for Android
  • The TurboTax Mobile App for iOS
Learn How to Apply for a Tax Refund Advance with Turbotax
Image Source: The TurboTax Blog

Understanding How Tax Refund Loans Work

Before diving into a discussion about the TurboTax Refund Advance loan, I want to first talk about what tax refund loans are in general. Most of these loans are offered at a 0% interest rate.

Learn How to Apply for a Tax Refund Advance with Turbotax
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To put it simply, tax refund loans are a way for taxpayers like me to gain access to my own money, i.e. my income tax refund, earlier than scheduled. 

So instead of having repayment terms and interest rates, tax preparation firms will lend you money and reclaim it through your tax return. In exchange, these companies may charge fees for filing your tax return.

How These Loans Work

I found out that tax refund loans are classified as short-term loans, wherein the loan amount is directly deducted from your tax refund once it comes out. Funds from the loan are usually transferred to a prepaid card within 24 hours of approval.

Since the US tax filing season begins in January, tax refund loans are usually offered between December and February. I learned that to become eligible for these kinds of loans, the company offering the loan should be the one who prepared your taxes.

This actually makes sense since they will have to know the amount you qualify for and they will get your repayment directly from the tax refund released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Examining the TurboTax Refund Advance Loan

I already established earlier that you can only get tax refund loans from companies that handle your tax return filing. Thus, you can only apply for a TurboTax Refund Advance loan if you e-filed using TurboTax.

Learn How to Apply for a Tax Refund Advance with Turbotax
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However, I also learned that you can only apply for the Refund Advance if your expected tax refund is over $500. In addition, the Refund Advance amount you can apply for will also depend on your tax return.

The maximum Refund Advance amount you will get ranges from a minimum of $250 to a maximum of $4,000. Once the IRS accepts your return, you may get the funds within one to two hours.

Know More About TurboTax and Intuit

Before talking further about the Refund Advance loan, I think it’s only right to place a little spotlight on the loan provider, Intuit. The financial software company developed the TurboTax tax preparation software.

The TurboTax software was originally developed in 1984 by Michael A. Chipman of Chipsoft but was sold to Intuit in 1993. It was designed to help users file their federal and state income tax returns.

Intuit also has a separate product similarly named TurboTax for Canadian tax returns, which was previously known as QuickTax. Its French version was renamed from ImpôtRapide to TurboImpôt in 2017.

How the TurboTax Refund Advance Loan Works

I mentioned earlier that the Refund Advance amount you can get is based on your federal refund amount. Other factors, such as your personal info, tax info, and any third-party data used by Inuit, may also impact the amount you’ll get.

Learn How to Apply for a Tax Refund Advance with Turbotax
Image Source: TurboTax – Intuit

The possible amounts you may get are $250, $500, $750, $1,000, $1,500, $2,000, $2,500, $3,000, $3,500, and $4,000. Keep in mind that any stimulus payment credit, also called Recovery Rebate Credit, may be added to the federal refund.

Make sure to choose Refund Advance as your refund option before submitting your filing. In case you qualify for the loan, you will need to open a checking account with Credit Karma Money to receive the loan proceeds.

Receiving Your Funds and Tax Refund Balance

I found out that once your tax refund gets approved by the IRS, your TurboTax Refund Advance could be deposited to your Credit Karma account in as fast as one hour. You may immediately access your funds online via a virtual card.

You will also receive a physical Credit Karma Visa Debit Card within 7 to 14 days from your approval. Any TurboTax fees will be deducted from the remaining tax refund.

Remember that since not all of your tax refund will be accessible via the loan, you will still get the remainder once the IRS finishes processing it, which is usually within 21 days. This will be also be deposited into your Credit Karma checking account.

Fees, Charges, and Interest You Need to Know About

What makes the TurboTax Refund Advance loan interesting to me is that it promises no hidden fees, 0% interest, and no loan fees. This is because you’re technically just borrowing your own money in advance.

Learn How to Apply for a Tax Refund Advance with Turbotax
Image Source: Forbes

However, since you need to use TurboTax for your tax filing to qualify for the loan, you will still need to pay tax preparation fees, which can also be deducted upon the release of your return.

I discovered that it’s cheaper to do the filing yourself, costing between $0 and $120. If you opt to use TurboTax tax expert filing services, it may cost anywhere from $50 to over $290.

Eligibility Requirements of TurboTax Refund Advance

Just like any other financial transaction, you must meet certain criteria to qualify. Here are the requirements that I learned should be met to qualify for the TurboTax Refund Advance loan.

Applicants must be at least 18 years or older, should not live in North Carolina, Connecticut, or Illinois, and should have a federal refund of at least $500. It is imperative that federal tax return e-filing should be done with TurboTax.

You should not be filing 310, 4852, 4684, 4868, 1040SS, 1040PR, 1040X, 8888, or 8862 tax forms and must report income on a Form W-2, 1099-R, Sched C, or Sched CEZ. Filing on behalf of a deceased taxpayer is prohibited.

What’s Next After Qualifying or Not Qualifying?

On the website, it states that applicants who successfully qualify for the Refund Advance loan will receive an email notification and will receive the funds shortly. 

Learn How to Apply for a Tax Refund Advance with Turbotax
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Those who do not qualify will still receive their entire tax refund through their Credit Karma Money checking account. You may continue to use this account even after you’ve received all the funds.

Also, you don’t have to worry about your credit score because getting a Refund Advance loan won’t affect it.

Company Contact Information

For inquiries and concerns, you may contact 1-800-4-INTUIT (1-800-446-8848).

Intuit’s corporate headquarters are located at 2700 Coast Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

The TurboTax Mobile App for Android

Like any other person, I do most of my transactions now via mobile devices so I was glad to learn that TurboTax has a mobile app. Fortunately, the app is available to both Android and iOS users free of charge.

Learn How to Apply for a Tax Refund Advance with Turbotax
Image Source: Google Play

Android users will find the app on the Google Play Store in the Finance category under the name “TurboTax: File Your Tax Return”. 

It has been downloaded more than 10 million times and this version of the app has a current rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars based on more than 220,000 user reviews.

Downloading and Installing the Android App

The TurboTax app has a file size of 122 MB and will require your device to run on Android 8.0 and up in order to function properly.

It is currently on version 8.2.0 and was last updated on January 22, 2022. 

To start downloading the app, tap on the Install button and wait for it to finish. Once the download is complete, the app will automatically start installation on your Android device.

The TurboTax Mobile App for iOS

On the other hand, iOS device users will come across the mobile app on the Apple App Store in the Finance category under the same name as its Android counterpart.

Learn How to Apply for a Tax Refund Advance with Turbotax
Image Source: Apple App Store

The app is currently only available in the English language.

The iOS version of the app has a current rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars based on almost 600,000 user reviews.

Downloading and Installing the iOS App

The iOS version of the app has a bigger file size compared with its Android counterpart, requiring 277.7 MB of free space. It requires iOS 13.0 or later to work on both the iPhone and the iPod touch.

It may also be used on an iPad provided that it runs on iPadOS 13.0 or later.

To download the TurboTax app, tap on the Get button and wait for it to complete the process. Once all files have been downloaded, they will automatically begin installing on your iOS device.

Conclusion

The TurboTax Refund Advance loan is a great way to address the need for quick cash when you’re expecting a tax refund. I personally recommend getting one instead of other short-term loans because of its lack of interest and fees. 

Note: There are risks involved when applying for a loan. Consult the company’s terms and conditions page for more information.

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