The National Retail Federation (NRF), the largest retail trade association,
recently commission a survey to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends
as it relates to their tax returns. This survey was conducted from February 1 to 8,
2012 and polled 8,716 consumers. Compared to previous years, more of us plan
to save out tax refunds, file earlier, and file online.
The proportion expecting a refund in 2012 did not change from last year, which
was 66.2 percent. Of those expecting a refund, 43.8 will put some of their refund
into savings compared to 42.1 percent in 2011. This was the largest proportion
in the nine-year history of these surveys. Another 39.4 percent will use some
of it to pay down debt; 28.7 percent plan to use if for everyday expenses; 12.3
percent will use it for a major purchase, such as a car or new television; and 11.3
percent plan to use it on a vacation.
The folks who choose to pay down debt with their tax refunds, especially, credit
card debt, will see an almost immediate increase in their credit scores thanks to
the lower debt utilization percentage. And, they’ll exhaust what’s likely their most
expensive debt. This makes it a twin win for the consumer.
Approximately 64.4 percent of the responders will have filed their returns by theend of February, the highest since 2006; 21.3 percent will have filed by the end
of March; and 14.3 percent will filed in April.
This year, 60.7 percent will file their taxes online compared to 57.6 percent last
year. Also, 36 percent will prepare their taxes using computer software, 21.0
percent will use an accountant, 18.7 percent will use a tax preparation service,
10.6 percent will have a friend, spouse or other relative prepare their taxes for
them, and 13.8 percent will prepare their taxes by hand.
And, of course, one of the hottest topics this year is the proliferation of tax fraud.This is when the fraudster files a fraudulent return using your name and SSN
before you file your legitimate return. They can also ask for direct deposit of the
refund OR a prepaid debit card, which is next to impossible to track.
Michael B. Citron is an internationally known public speaker and author. He lectures for professional associations worldwide. Michael is a serial entrepreneur who is dedicated to living the American dream, and helping others to do the same. His role at DisputeSuite.com has placed him in the spotlight of the credit repair industry. DisputeSuite is the largest provider of technology and education services to the industry, and has been a catalyst in the forward movement to standardize the credit repair industry.