This is the time of the year where the radio and TV ads and business signs suggest that you can bring in your last pay stub and get money. Implied is that the return is being done and you are receiving all or part of your refund. Buyer Beware! Please check into what you are buying.
Working from paystubs, there are businesses offering to advance part of what they estimate you will be receiving in a tax refund. There also may be a restriction on how you use the advance you are offered. It may have to taken in a debit card or applied to a car/furniture purchase. Whether you get cash or a purchase credit, you will have to meet other qualifications. There may be a credit check, you may have to be a prior customer, your employer may be contacted. Once the advance is issued, you still have to file a return. Sometimes this can be done through the business who issued the advance or you may have to do it on your own and take the re-payment to that business. These advances were a rage a few years ago but after the RAL banks lost lots of money they stopped giving cash. Now you have to settle for a pre-paid debit card or purchase credit. Do your homework to make sure you understand exactly what you are buying. And don't forget to file your return.
By the middle of January, I will have received a half a dozen calls wanting to file from their pay stub (I've already received one). Can't do it. IRS requires me to have a copy of every W-2 on any return I file. (There is an exception to that but it can't be used until the middle of February.) If you can find someone who says they will file from a paystub, don't assume you are okay since they are the ones breaking the law. You will have to sign the e-file authorization which says you are filing a correct return. If you are filing from a paystub, you may not have an accurate return. W-2s and paystubs seldom match or there may be other income you are ignoring or forgotten about. Also, if the preparer is ignoring the rules and filing with a paystub, what other rules are they ignoring and could those have a consequence for you? Is getting your refund a few days/weeks early worth the potential problems and costs?
The IRS doesn't open e-filing until January 15, 2010. If you find someone who will complete a return from a paystub, it can't be e-filed before then. And mailing it will set off questions right off since then the W-2 has to be attached to the paper return. Employers have until January 31st to get W-2 in the mail. Even if an employer waits that long, filing with a pay stub will only gain you a couple of weeks. Is it worth the hassle?