Tax Refund Anticipation Loan - RAL

Definition of 'Tax Refund Anticipation Loan - RAL'


A loan provided by a third party against a taxpayer's expected refund. The tax refund anticipation loan is not provided by the U.S. Treasury or the IRS and is subject to the interest and fees set by the lender. These loans are most often offered by large tax preparation companies to taxpayers expecting refunds of a few thousands dollars or less.

Investopedia explains 'Tax Refund Anticipation Loan - RAL'


Refund anticipation loans (RAL) can be very expensive relative to the short-term benefit they provide. The interest may seem small (3-5% of the refund amount), but can be much more when additional fees and charges are considered. Thanks to the increased use of electronic filing and direct deposit, most refunds now only take a few weeks to a month to process. Thus, if a taxpayer is not in immediate need of the funds, it generally makes financial sense to avoid using a tax refund anticipation loan.


Filed Under: ,

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Passive ETF

    One of two types of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available for investors. Passive ETFs are index funds that track a specific benchmark, such as a SPDR. Unlike actively managed ETFs, passive ETFs are not managed by a fund manager on a daily basis.
  2. Walras' Law

    An economics law that suggests that the existence of excess supply in one market must be matched by excess demand in another market so that it balances out. So when examining a specific market, if all other markets are in equilibrium, Walras' Law asserts that the examined market is also in equilibrium.
  3. Market Segmentation

    A marketing term referring to the aggregating of prospective buyers into groups (segments) that have common needs and will respond similarly to a marketing action. Market segmentation enables companies to target different categories of consumers who perceive the full value of certain products and services differently from one another.
  4. Effective Annual Interest Rate

    An investment's annual rate of interest when compounding occurs more often than once a year. Calculated as the following:
  5. Debit Spread

    Two options with different market prices that an investor trades on the same underlying security. The higher priced option is purchased and the lower premium option is sold - both at the same time. The higher the debit spread, the greater the initial cash outflow the investor will incur on the transaction.
  6. Odious Debt

    Money borrowed by one country from another country and then misappropriated by national rulers. A nation's debt becomes odious debt when government leaders use borrowed funds in ways that don't benefit or even oppress citizens. Some legal scholars argue that successor governments should not be held accountable for odious debt incurred by earlier regimes, but there is no consensus on how odious debt should actually be treated.
Trading Center