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TurboTax Offers Taxpayers Option Of Getting Refund In Amazon Gift Card

From car dealers to appliance stores, businesses know tax refund season is an important time of year. The average tax refund so far this year is $3,200 and more than three-quarters of taxpayers get a refund. 

Seattle's undoubtedly gets a boost already from that influx of cash. But this year, the company is aiming for more.

If you file your taxes using TurboTax, you have the option of getting all or part of your refund in the form of an Amazon gift card. And Amazon and TurboTax, owned by the software company Intuit, advertise that you can stretch your refund even farther because the gift card adds an extra 5 percent to 10 percent to whatever you’re getting back from the IRS.

Still, Susan Grant, director of  consumer protection with the Consumer Federation of America, has some advice for people who accept the offer.

"If you are turning your tax refund into a gift card, be sure you have a use for it, and that you actually do use it and you use it all," Grant said. "Otherwise, you’re actually losing money on the deal."

Lost gift cards used to be a big problem, but the percentage of gift cards going unused has been dropping. And gift card usage has been climbing.

Congress passed a law several years ago to protect consumers from gift cards with undisclosed expiration dates and hidden fees. Amazon says its gift card through TurboTax has no fees and doesn’t expire.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.