Consumers Used Tax Returns to Eliminate Debt and Pay Bills, According to New Survey from American Consumer Credit Counseling

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Tax refunds helped Americans save and catch up on bills; most avoided extra spending

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Don’t get caught treating your refund check any differently than you’d treat your weekly or monthly paycheck.

American consumers took advantage of their income tax returns using the refunds to eliminate debt, pay bills and set aside extra cash, according to a new survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling.

Nearly 70 percent of those polled online by ACCC either used their tax returns to pay down debt, catch up on bills or increase their savings. Just 14 percent of those surveyed at said that they made new purchases with the extra money.

The online poll of 130 budget-conscious consumers was conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling - a national non-profit that helps consumers with budgeting and debt management – at

“Many consumers have dug deep into their emergency fund over the past several years and haven’t had the extra money to restore it,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Using your tax refund is an opportune way to start rebuilding savings, which can help you avoid landing in credit card debt if you have an emergency. Don’t get caught treating your refund check any differently than you’d treat your weekly or monthly paycheck. Although it’s best to have the correct amount of taxes taken out during the year, any tax refund should be used responsibly."

Despite Americans showing wise management of their refunds, the ACCC survey found that consumers find it easier to save money from their regular paycheck than from a tax return. Close to 70 percent of those polled said that they find it easier to set aside money periodically rather than saving a lump sum tax refund.

The poll also found that many Americans did not see an increase in tax returns this year. Fifty-three percent of those polled said that their refund was smaller this year or the same as last year. Close to 30 percent received $1,000 or less while 20 percent did not receive a refund.

The IRS has already issued more than 77 million refunds that average more than $2,800 to people who filed early this year, according to ABC News.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  •     For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  •     For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  •     For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  •     Or visit us online at

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. Each month, ACCC invites consumers to participate in a poll focused on personal finance issues. The results are conveyed in the form of infographics that act as tools to educate the community on everyday personal finance issues and problems. By learning more about financial management topics such as credit and debt management, consumers are empowered to make the best possible financial decisions to reach debt relief. As one of the nation’s leading providers of personal finance education and credit counseling services, ACCC’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help determine the best possible debt solutions for them. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. To participate in this month’s poll, visit and for more financial management resources visit

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Tony Catinella