LOS ANGELES, Calif., April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Tax season is in full force and as consumers anticipate receiving money back from Uncle Sam, many taxpayers already know how they plan to use their refund. Leading online shopping site PriceGrabber® just released results of its Tax Survey revealing that 54 percent of consumers expect to receive a tax refund this year. Twenty-four percent anticipate a bigger chunk of change than last year and 26 percent expect about the same amount. Thirty-two percent anticipate receiving less compared to 2012, and 18 percent aren't sure how much money they will receive. Conducted from February 20 to March 11, 2013, the survey includes responses from 5,655 U.S. online shopping consumers.
"As expected, many taxpayers are looking to save or pay off credit card debt with their refund, however our survey data also indicates a springtime boost in the economy as 56 percent plan to splurge on clothing, home goods and electronics this year," commented Rojeh Avanesian, vice president of marketing and analytics of PriceGrabber.
PriceGrabber sees an increase of consumer appetite to shop Of the respondents who expect to receive a tax refund this year, 56 percent said they plan to use their money to shop, an increase of 13 percent compared to 2012. When consumers were asked to select all of the items or activities they will purchase with their tax refund, clothing was the top selection with 34 percent of respondents. Home goods and consumer electronics such as HDTVs, cameras or smartphones, tied for second place receiving 28 percent of the vote. Computers, laptops, tablets and e-readers followed in third with 34 percent, and 23 percent of consumers selected travel and vacations.Those not shopping plan to save their tax refund When the 44 percent of respondents that indicated they are not planning to shop with their refund money were asked to select all the ways they plan to use the refund, 37 percent said they will put it in savings. Twenty-six percent of consumers plan to pay off credit card debt; 12 percent plan to create an emergency fund; 11 percent selected home improvements; and 10 percent will pay off student loans, auto loans or a mortgage. Five percent of respondents plan to invest the money, and another 5 percent plan to indulge in leisure activities such as travel, dining out, concerts/events or spas. Consumers favor accountants to complete their tax returns According to the PriceGrabber survey, 58 percent of consumers indicated they are planning to use a tax service to complete their returns this year. Of those respondents, 47 percent plan to rely on an accountant, while 26 percent plan use a website like Turbo Tax® and 18 percent plan use an in-store service such as H&R Block®. Just 9 percent of filers plan to employ an at-home computer program or another alternative option. Moreover, electronic filing is the preferred method this year, with 84 percent of respondents planning to do so, compared with only 16 percent of consumers who plan to file their returns by mail. "While we have seen mobile device apps become more popular from a shopping-related standpoint, it seems that tax preparation apps are not as widely adopted yet among consumers," added Avanesian. "Our survey indicates 86 percent of consumers do not plan to download a tax preparation app onto a mobile device in order to prepare their tax returns this year."