MY TURN: Fleecing the poor - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MY TURN: Fleecing the poor

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Lee Meredith, WMC-TV general manager. Lee Meredith, WMC-TV general manager.

Even the best-intentioned government programs seem to spawn unintended consequences.

The program that has my attention this week is the federal earned income tax credit.

It's designed to help families with low to moderate incomes.

Since the Memphis area has a lot of families like that, the tax credit pumps millions of dollars into the Memphis economy.

The unintended consequence is the way the credit has lined the pockets of the storefront tax preparation industry.

Some of these firms charge poor people outrageous amounts of money to prepare simple tax returns and then they offer refund anticipation loans with high interest rates attached.

One of these companies, Mo' Money Taxes, is in trouble again this year with its customers and the government.

So we probably cannot say this often enough. There are qualified volunteers who will prepare free returns for people who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit.

If this applies to you, please take advantage of this free assistance.

One of the easiest ways to find this help is to dial the 211 community helpline.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment or anything else, email yourturn@wmctv.com or call 800-465-1210.

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