Personal Finance

Most Americans who expect a tax refund say it's important to their financial well-being

Key Points
  • With tax season in full swing, a new survey finds that 73% of Americans who are expecting tax refunds say the money is important to their financial well being.
  • Last year, the average refund was $2,707. That could be higher for people if their incomes dropped or they're still missing stimulus check money.
  • Here's who is most eager for those refund checks and how they plan to spend it.
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc

Americans are especially eager to receive their tax refunds this year.

A new survey from CreditCards.com finds that 73% of U.S. adults who are expecting a tax refund say it is important to their overall financial well-being this year.

That's as there's about a month to go before people need to submit their returns in time for the April 15 Tax Day deadline. (The deadline has been extended to June 15 for Texas residents due to recent winter storms.)

Last year, the average refund was $2,707. This year, it could be more than that, said Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com.

That's due to the fact that those refunds could make up for unpaid stimulus payments or higher withholding rates after lost work.

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"I really think this is going to be viewed as another stimulus check," Rossman said.

The survey found 53% of people impacted by Covid-19 said their refund is very important to them, compared to 30% of those whose income did not change who said the same.

Women were also more likely to say they are counting on the money, with 51% indicating it is very important to their financial well-being versus 35% of men.

Respondents had an increased need for the refund money, regardless of income.

I really think this is going to be viewed as another stimulus check.
Ted Rossman
Industry analyst, Creditcards.com

This year, 61% of those earning under $40,000 said their tax refund is very important, compared to 42% who said the same last year.

Meanwhile, 31% of those with incomes of $80,000 per year and up said the money is very important to them, versus 24% who said the same last year.

Most Americans said they plan to use the money for savings, at 28%, or to pay off debt, at 25%.

Others uses cited for the money include day-to-day expenses, at 17%; home improvements, 8%; investing, 7%; retail purchases, 3%; or a vacation, 2%.

The online survey was conducted in mid-February and included 2,494 adults.