The cases and complaints were spelled out in SEC filings by H&R Block and JTH Holdings, the parent of Liberty Tax. JTH is in the process of going public. Both H&R Block and Liberty are being sued and the JTH filings said two of its competitors were named in the litigation. While Jackson Hewitt is the second largest tax chain, the filings do not state if that company is also facing the legal actions. A query has been made to Jackson Hewitt's public relations department by this publication.
According to the JTH filings, the actions against it began in November in federal courts in Arkansas, California, Florida and Illinois with suits filed in Maryland and North Carolina in January and in Wisconsin in February. JTH notes that the plaintiffs argue that filers are being loaned the amount of the tax preparation fee and therefore the bank products, called electronic refund checks in the case of Liberty, should be subject to loan disclosures and other consumer protections. A case brought by the California Attorney General that was decided in 2008 had already found ERCs to be loans. JTH is appealing that decision.
Reports on website of consumer advocate groups make it clear that they plan to keep pressure on bank products. A February report by the National Consumer Law Center reports that "The next challenge is to ensure RACs are made unnecessary and tax preparation fees are subject to standardized, easy-to-understand disclosure." This site and others also caution filers against the cost of setting up accounts for pre-paid debit cards and similar programs, including those established by state governments.