Taxpayers Willing to Delay Tax Refunds to Curb Identity Theft

Many Americans are willing to delay receiving their tax refunds for up to two months if it would provide the IRS time to combat identity fraud, according to a new survey. and Princeton Survey Research Associates surveyed 1,002 U.S. adults and found that 22 percent of Americans are willing to wait patiently for up to eight weeks, followed closely by 20 percent who would wait one to two weeks. However, 15 percent who said they would not be willing to wait any additional time to safeguard against refund fraud.

“The IRS has put stronger protections in place this year to shield taxpayers from identity theft related to refund fraud,” said tax analyst Kay Bell. “These changes will mostly be transparent to online filers and should not result in extended refund delays.”

More than half of Americans either anticipate receiving a tax refund or have already received one this year. However, the plan for what do with those funds varies greatly. While 31 percent plan to save or invest their tax refund, 28 percent said they would use the funds to pay down debt (down from 34 percent last year).  Another 27 percent of respondents said they would spend their refund on necessities, such as food or utility bills.  In addition, 6 percent of people who said they would splurge on a vacation or shopping spree doubled compared to last year.

By age group, 41 percent of Millennials and 51 percent of retirees indicated they plan to save or invest their tax refund.  

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