Millions of Americans are eagerly awaiting a tax refund from Uncle Sam. The National Retail Federation's 2008 Tax Returns Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that 61.2 percent of consumers had already filed their tax returns, or would file a return by the end of March.
Consumers filed earlier this year than last year, with nearly a third of Americans having filed by mid February. Another 24 percent said they would file in March, with just 15.2 percent filing in April.
"With high gas prices, a sluggish housing market and low wage growth, consumers are in the middle of the perfect storm," said NRF president and CEO, Tracy Mullin. "Americans who receive a tax refund will be anxiously awaiting those checks to buy necessities, pay down debt, or indulge in something they have been putting off."
This year, nearly seven out of ten consumers, 69.2 percent, are expecting a refund. Of those, 27 percent will spend it on everyday expenses; 12.1 percent will treat themselves to a major purchase, and 12.1 percent will take a vacation. Consumers will also pay down debt, according to 46.5 percent of those surveyed.
"Some consumers will choose to invest their 'free money' in paying down old debt," said BIGresearch VP of strategy, Phil Rist. "Others may decide to hold onto their money for a rainy day, or put it toward purchasing everyday necessities."
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