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Banks, card processors, IRS partner to offer fast access to tax refunds across North America

140px-US-InternalRevenueService-Seal.svgSeveral banks, card processing companies and the Internal Revenue Service have partnered up to offer free tax services and fast access to tax refunds to consumers across Canada and the U.S.

PNC Bank announced on Monday that it would collaborate with the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to provide free tax filing services across 12 states and Washington D.C. to individuals who earn less than $51,000 per year, and participants in the program can receive quicker refunds via PNC’s low-fee Visa cards at 30 million locations. Since 2011, the number of program participants who opt to receive card refunds has increased by 50 percent.

“We are very appreciative of how financial institutions have embraced supporting the VITA program,” Peggy Bogadi, the commissioner at the IRS’ wage and investment division, said. “It’s great to know that taxpayers in low-income communities have an opportunity to take advantage of free tax preparation and financial education programs.”

MasterCard Canada, DC Bank and H&R Block have partnered to offer the H&R Block Advantage Prepaid MasterCard, a free reloadable card that will allow Canadians to receive their tax refunds faster.

“You don’t often hear people talk about convenience, flexibility and freedom at tax time,” H&R Block Canada President Richard Brown said. “But that’s what we have been able to create with our partners H&R Block and DC Bank. Moving to a prepaid MasterCard as a new way to receive your refund instantly offers our customers unique advantages we were unable to provide with just a cheque.”

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