Most U.S. Taxpayers Expect a Refund! Here’s How They’re Spending It

Thérèse Mulvey

Tax Season, Consumer Insights, Monthly Survey

April 8, 2024

Most U.S. Taxpayers Expect a Refund! Here’s How They’re Spending It

Tax season is often a time of stress and even dread for many Americans.

We were curious about consumer habits during the all-important tax season, so we added some new questions in the Causeway Solutions monthly survey of more than 800 U.S. adults 18+.

In March, we asked survey participants, how they plan to file their taxes:*

  • 53% Online through a tax preparation software or website.
  • 24% Meet in person with a tax professional.
  • 10% Someone else takes care of it.
  • 4% Mail in.
  • 2% Unsure.

Online Tax Preparation

  • 53% of adults 18+ plan to file online through a tax preparation software or website.
  • Adults 35-44 are much more likely to use online tax preparation at 62%.
  • 58% of adults with college+ education plan to file taxes online, compared to 37% of adults with less than college education.

In-Person Tax Preparation

  • 24% of adults 18+ will meet in person with a tax professional.
  • 32% of adults 45-54 will meet in person.
  • 29% of adults with $100K+ household income will meet in person.

*Causeway Solutions: March 2024

What will people do if they get a tax refund?

The good news is the majority of survey participants anticipate getting a refund this year, since only 23% say they’re not expecting one.

Here’s how they’ll use the tax refund:*

  • 26% Pay down debt.
  • 35% Put in savings or investment account.
  • 6% Pay for vehicle or home repairs.
  • 10% Something fun.
  • 23% Not expecting one.

Those who are using their tax refund to pay down debt are:

  • More likely to be under 35 (35%)
  • More likely to say they’re spending less compared to last month (39%)

Those who are planning to put their refund in a savings or investment account are:

  • More likely to be 18-24 (41%)
  • More likely to have $75K+ household income (41%)
  • More likely to have college or less education (31%)

*Causeway Solutions: March 2024

The fact that a third of U.S. consumers plan to put their tax refund in a savings or investment account and a quarter plan to pay down debt speaks well for Americans being more fiscally responsible. These groups may be an ideal audience for financial services, political campaigns or other types of marketers.

But we can’t forget the 10% who’ll use the extra cash for something fun. Here’s to less stress and finding some fun this tax season!

We conduct our monthly surveys to get a pulse on consumer attitudes, behaviors and trends. If you have a burning question about U.S. consumers, reach out to us at [email protected].

*About Causeway Solutions’ Monthly Surveys

Causeway Solutions has conducted a monthly online survey of U.S. Adults 18+ for more than 3 years. The data offers snapshots into consumer attitudes and behaviors, which support industry trends. Insights include optimism about the economy, plan to purchase and media usage. Causeway Solutions offers key industry profiles, including healthcare, entertainment, sports, travel, restaurants and more.

Thérèse Mulvey is Vice President of Strategy & Insight at Causeway Solutions, a leading provider of Acquisition Analytics and innovative data services. Thérèse has worked in media, including television, newspaper, direct mail and digital, where she successfully translated consumer data into insights that address key business issues. She has over two decades of success driving profit, growth and market expansion through the strategic optimization of marketing analytics, research and business development. Causeway Solutions empowers clients to make smart, timely, data-driven decisions through real-time consumer insights to better reach target audiences. Learn more at