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American Consumer Credit Counseling Survey Finds Nearly 70 Percent of Consumers Used their Tax Refund to Get Ahead on Monthly Bills and Pay Down Debt
Monday, June 16, 2014 6:35 AM

Americans were budget and money conscious with their tax returns this year, according to a survey by national financial education nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling. The online survey revealed that 69 percent of American consumers used their tax refund to pay down debt and get ahead on monthly expenses such as rent, utilities and car payments, while only 16 percent splurged and bought themselves something.

Surprisingly, ACCC’s web poll found at ConsumerCredit.com, revealed that while 18 to 34 year olds were most likely to put their refund into savings with 37 percent reporting doing so, they were also most likely to spend their refund with 28 percent stating they splurged on something nice. In contrast, of those aged 55 or older only four percent admitted to buying themselves something.

Of the 179 consumers surveyed, 11 percent reported owing more taxes after filing and 14 percent did not receive a refund. Of those respondents who owed the government money, the majority, 19 percent, owed between $100 to $499.

Of those respondents who did receive a refund this year, nearly 20 percent saw a return of $2,500 or more, with 35 to 44 year olds receiving the largest returns. According to the IRS, the average tax refund for 2014 is $2,831, up 1.5 percent from the same period last year.

When asked if they would rather pay more towards taxes in order to receive a larger refund or keep more of their paycheck and receive a smaller refund, 45 percent of respondents preferred the latter. Interestingly, nearly half, 45 percent of those aged 18 to 34 would rather fork over more of their paycheck in order to see a larger refund.