Fatigued by rising gas prices and sinking home values, millions are eagerly anticipating a refund from Uncle Sam – and so 61.2% of consumers have already filed their tax returns or will file a return by the end of the month, according to the National Retail Federation.
Consumers filed earlier this year than they did last year, the NRF’s 2008 Tax Returns Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found:
- Some 28.5% of Americans surveyed said they filed by mid-February, compared with 21.6% who said so last year.
- 23.7% said they’d file in March, 15.2% said they would in April.
Among other findings of the study:
- Seven out of ten consumers are expecting a refund (69.2%) when they file their 2007 taxes.
- Of those expecting a refund, 27.0% will spend it on everyday expenses, 12.1% will treat themselves to a major purchase and 12.1% will take a vacation.
- Consumers will also pay down their debt with the refunds (46.5% saying so vs. 43.1% last year).
- For tax preparation:
- One-third of consumers (31.5%) will do it themselves using a computer software program.
- Others will do it by hand (14.7%), use an accountant (23.5%), a tax preparation service (18.7%), or have a spouse, friend or other relative handle it (11.6%).
- The convenience of free online tax services will drive nearly half of all American households (49.2%) to the computer to file their taxes. The other half (50.8%) will file the traditional way and mail it in.
About the survey: The NRF 2008 Tax Returns Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted for NRF by BIGresearch, was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to tax returns. The poll of 7,977 consumers was conducted from February 2-12, 2008.