With economic uncertainty still lingering, many Americans plan to use their tax refunds conservatively, according to a new survey.

The survey, by Bankrate.com and Princeton Survey Research Associates International, found that 84 percent of the 1,002 adults polled intend to use their tax refunds to pay down debt, save or invest, or use it for everyday necessities. Only 7 percent plan to spend the money on fun activities such as shopping or taking a vacation.

Within that 84 percent of fiscally conservative taxpayers, 30 percent intend to pay down debt, 28 percent say they will save or invest, and 26 percent anticipate spending their refund on food or utility bills.

Fifty-five percent of Americans polled expect to get, or have received, a tax refund this year, while 24 percent expect to owe money. While just 3 percent of those getting a refund took a refund anticipation loan, among people with incomes under $30,000 that number doubled to 6 percent.

Only 19 percent of respondents plan to adjust their paycheck withholding to avoid a big refund next year, while 71 percent plan on keeping their withholding the same. Among those who anticipate owing money, 63 percent plan to pay their taxes straight from their bank accounts. Only 6 percent anticipate borrowing money to pay off their tax bill. Among those who expect to owe money, 17 percent expect to set up an installment plan with the IRS.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access