A federal judge assessed a penalty of $507,477 against H&R Block for misleading advertising. The ads in question promised rapid refunds, and a check in the amount of your refund, without specifically disclosing that the company's Rapid Refund program is actually an interest-bearing loan against a taxpayer's anticipated refund.
The law suit was brought by the Virginia firm of Liberty Tax Service of Virginia Beach, Virginia, a company that felt the H&R Block ads were targeting the company's service in its roll-out year.
The court determined that the ads violated an Internal Revenue Service mandate which states that clear disclosure is required for programs that provide loans against anticipated refunds.
In addition to paying the fine, H&R Block is barred on a national level from making misleading ads about refund anticipation loans.