The Government Accountability Office conducted an undercover investigation of tax preparers earlier this year to learn what they disclose to clients about the fees they charge for refund anticipation loans.

GAO investigators used Internet searches to identify 22 different tax preparers across the country and called them to ask about RALs. Posing as taxpayers, they also visited 18 tax preparers in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore area, taking photographs of their offices.

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