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Americans Planning to Save, Not Splurge, with Tax Refunds This Year, According to NRF Survey

WASHINGTON, February 19, 2015 – Playing it safe and planning ahead, Americans plan to stash their tax refunds into savings this year. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Tax Returns Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 47 percent of those expecting a refund plan to put the money into savings, the highest percentage in the survey’s history. Nearly two-thirds (65.7%) of those surveyed are expecting a refund.

“A check from Uncle Sam gives consumers the ability to pay down debt, add a cushion to their savings or splurge on a vacation or big-ticket item.”

Matthew Shay

“Americans are thinking of the future, and remaining financially secure is a big part of that,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “A check from Uncle Sam gives consumers the ability to pay down debt, add a cushion to their savings or splurge on a vacation or big-ticket item.”

Consumers have a plan for how they will use their refunds: 39.1 percent will pay down debt and 25.1 percent plan to use it for daily expenses. While 13 percent say they will splurge on a vacation, 10.5 percent plan to spend on a major purchase like a television or car.

Young adults are making wise decisions for their future as 54.9 percent plan to put refunds into savings. But not all young adults are headed to the bank – 32.2 percent will spend on everyday expenses and 15.4 percent will make a major purchase. More than half of Americans ages 25-34 (53.2%) plan to tuck away their refunds in savings or use their refunds to pay down debt (47.6%).

“Perhaps having learned a few financial lessons from their parents during the economic downturn, it appears that Millennials are looking for ways to get ahead,” Prosper Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow said. “Less likely to be saddled with mortgages and accumulated debt, tax refunds represent the perfect opportunity for younger consumers to invest in their future.”

According to the survey, 64 percent plan to file their taxes online. Additionally, 37.4 percent will use computer software to prepare their taxes on their own, while 12.5 percent will do so manually. Others plan to have a spouse, friend or relative help (9.5%) and 22.2 percent will use an accountant.

With most consumers planning to file in February (35.8%), 23.8 percent have already filed or plan to file in March (24.9%), with 15.5 percent waiting until the last minute in April.

About the Survey
The survey is designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to tax returns. The poll of consumers was conducted from February 3-10 and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.3 percentage points.

Prosper Insights and Analytics delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues. www.ProsperDiscovery.com

About NRF
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF.com