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NRF: Consumers will be prudent with refunds

WASHINGTON — Nearly two-thirds of American families expect to find themselves with a little extra money from their tax returns, and nearly half (49.2 percent) plan to pay down debt with the dough, according the a new study by the National Retail Federation.

Another 37.4 percent will tuck away their refunds into savings, according to the NRF 2004 Tax Returns Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch for NRF. However, 27.0 percent plan to use the money for everyday expenses, while 11.6 percent will apply the refund toward a major purchase. Refunds will be used to take a vacation by 12.2 percent of survey respondents.

BIGresearch conducted its poll of 7,224 consumers from February 4-11. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent, according to the NRF.

Although April 15 is the deadline to file taxes, 65.1 percent of consumers filed in January or February while another 20.9 percent will file in March, NRF reported. Only 14.0 percent of consumers plan to wait until April to file their taxes.

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that the average tax return as of March 5 was $2,182, up 4.4 percent from $2,089 last year at that time.

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