The biggest incentive to filing your tax-return early is if you are getting a refund. Resist the urge to speed the refund process further by taking out a so called refund anticipation loan (RAL), essentially 10- to 14-day loans against your anticipated refund.

Many such loans have substantial interest rates and additional fees. A study by the Consumer Federation of America and National Consumer Law Center Inc. showed that effective annualized interest rate for RALs based on a 10-day loan period ranges from about 40 percent for a loan of $9,999 to more than 700 percent for a loan of $200, or 70 percent to more than 1,700 percent if administrative or "application" fees are included.

Patrick Kennedy