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Taxpayers plan to use refunds to pay bills


The deadline for individuals to file their 2008 federal tax returns is Wednesday, and polls are showing that most people plan to use this year’s tax refund to pay bills or purchase necessities, the Associated Press reported.

According to an Associated Press-Gfk poll released today, 54 percent of American’s who anticipate receiving refunds said they plan to use the money to pay off credit card, utility, housing or other bills. Last year, only 35 percent said they would use their refunds to pay bills.

The poll, which was conducted April 3-7, found that 57 percent of adults said they expect to receive a tax refund.

However, not all refund recipients plan to pay bills with the money. According to the poll, 38 percent plan to spend at least part of it, but mostly on necessities such as food and clothing. Last year, only 7 percent said they would use their refunds to purchase necessities.

Doug Shulman, an Internal Revenue Service commissioner, said the average refund this year is about $2,700, compared with $2,500 last year. As of last week, the IRS had sent out about $200 billion in tax refunds, and expects to send out about $330 billion by the end of tax season.

The poll also found:

31 percent of those receiving refunds said they will use at least part of the money to pay credit card bills, compared with 17 percent a year ago.

19 percent said they will use their refunds to pay utility bills, compared with 10 percent a year ago.

17 percent said they will use their refunds for rent or mortgage payments, compared with 7 percent a year ago.

4 percent said they would use their refunds to buy stocks or bonds, about the same as a year ago.

8 percent of those who owe taxes said they were very likely or somewhat likely to use a credit card to pay their tax bill.

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