Forty-five percent of the 1,000 investors in a recent survey expect to receive a tax refund, and among them, 61 percent plan to save or invest the money, according to a poll by TD Ameritrade

The survey also found that 21 percent of the investors surveyed plan to use the money to pay off debt, while 19 percent plan to spend it on discretionary items and 18 percent expect to spend it on necessities.

The majority (62 percent) of the survey respondents said they file their taxes on time, but not with any rush, while only 27 percent say they file as soon as they get their W-2s.

More than half of the survey respondents actively manage their withholdings to control the amount of taxes withheld from their pay: 30 percent manage withholdings in a way that allows them to get less money in their paycheck but get a larger income tax return at the end of the year, and 27 percent manage withholdings in a way that allows them to get more money in their paycheck, even if it means they might owe income taxes at the end of the year

Generation Y respondents were more likely than other generations to say they file their taxes as soon as they get their W-2s (44 percent vs. 26 percent), perhaps because they’re the most likely to expect a refund (66 percent vs. 43 percent). Gen Y was also more likely to say they manage their income withholdings to get a larger refund at the end of the year (44 percent vs. 29 percent). Despite the rush to get the money, they are in no rush to spend it. Sixty-seven percent expect to save or invest their refunds.

“It’s encouraging to see that so many Americans have plans to save or invest their refund money,” said Lule Demmissie, managing director of retirement guidance for TD Ameritrade, in a statement. “But, there is one lesson some of them could learn—especially those in Generation Y. Rather than giving Uncle Sam extra money throughout the year, they may want to consider adjusting their withholdings so they have that money to invest throughout the year. A small increase in the amount you invest monthly can add up over time.”

While Americans have plans for their personal income tax refunds, they also have some thoughts on how they would like the U.S. government to spend tax revenue. If they had a say, public education (41 percent), health care (37 percent) and job creation (33 percent) would be their top priorities. Further down the list was investing in the defense of the U.S. (29 percent), improving the quality of health care (22 percent) and protecting the environment (18 percent).

TD Ameritrade has launched a series of new online tools and resources to help investors prepare for the tax filing season. The site includes a calendar of important tax dates, a chart outlining when investors can expect to receive their various tax forms, information on cost basis and understanding tax lots, a webinar on estate planning basics, a downloadable 2014 Tax Guide and a Minimum Required Distribution Calculator to help investors determine the required minimum distributions for their traditional IRAs and tax-deferred savings accounts.

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