SURVEY SAYS: Will You Be Getting a Tax Refund?

April 8, 2010 ( - As you are no doubt aware, next week is April 15 – tax filing deadline for many/most of us.

As a bonus question this week, I asked readers if they were getting a refund – and what they planned to do with it.

A whopping three-quarters (74.7%) of this week’s respondents said they would be getting a refund, compared with a mere 17.2% who wouldn’t. 

As for the remaining 8.0%?  Well, they didn’t know – yet (after all, April 15 is next week, right?  As one reader noted, “We’ll probably get a refund, but since we’re not on the ball enough to file our taxes in a timely manner, I won’t know for sure until some time after April 15 and before the extension period ends!”).


Now, as for the plans for that refund, a surprisingly robust (compared with other surveys, anyway) 40% of this week’s respondents said they planned to save it.  Among the other responses:

  • 28.3% - spend it
  • 18.3% - pay down debt
  •  8.3% - pay bills
  •  4.0% - other

Most of the “other” category fell into the “more than one of the above” category – though home improvement was also a popular citation.  Some other “others” were:

We have lots of trips planned for this year--this will pay for the kennel for the dog while we are gone....

I owe it to the IRS for previous tax years.

I'm putting a chunk into my daughter's 529 plan.

Offsetting what I owe the state.

Bought  lunch.

Sort of ... my husband's ex gets our refund ... nice, eh?

My refund will cover our household expenses when I'm out on maternity leave in a couple of months.

We split it - save some, and specifically designate the majority to (a) family vacation, (b) home improvements, and (c) lcertain arge expenditures, like braces, etc.

Pay bills and save the rest to pay later bills - I have an ex-wife getting alimonyand a daughter in college. Nuff said!

Pay my CPA for tax preparation

Use it toward the wedding of our last single daughter and the welcoming in of a new son-in-law.

I've got some old appliances that may need to be replaced (a 25 year old washer and dryer), and I need a new roof (still praying for a hail storm for the 3rd summer).

It’s worth noting that roughly 1% said they would be giving their refund to someone else.  Now, while some of the above might fall into that category (especially the reader with a husband’s ex to contend with), though one reader noted “If anyone wants to select "Give it to someone else", I'll be that someone!” (Editor’s Note: next time provide a forwarding address).

One reader spoke for many (I’m sure) by observing “I've been so busy doing compliance testing, 5500 prep, and document restatements that I have not even began to look at my own taxes or purchased Turbo Tax yet!”

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said their tax refund was going to an “investment in real estate, which some think is saving, some would say spend it, and a lot would think is giving it to someone else. Tough call.”

Amen.  Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!