A new report from the Chamber of Commerce surveyed taxpayers across the country to get a better idea of their typical filing habits. Experts surveyed 1,000 Americans across the country, and also analyzed data from the U.S. Census and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The results broke down which states are the most likely to procrastinate filing their taxes, which generations procrastinate filing, how taxpayers are most likely to use their refunds, and more.
Who’s procrastinating the most?
Overall, 31% of taxpayers across the country were likely to procrastinate on filing their taxes. The study highlighted the top 10 cities where residents are the most likely to stall on filing:
Salt Lake City, Utah
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Generationally, Baby Boomers were the least likely to procrastinate on their taxes, while Gen Z was the most likely to procrastinate. Over 40% of Gen Z respondents said that they’re likely to wait to file their taxes.
For nearly 50% of those who procrastinate, the stress and confusion associated with filing taxes is enough to make them wait it out. Additionally, nearly 40% of those surveyed said they wait because they want to be sure their information is correct, while 37% said that the process is too time-consuming. Nearly 30% procrastinate filing because they know they won’t get a refund this year.
Refunds: saving or spending?
When it comes to tax refunds, just about a quarter of survey respondents believe that their return will be smaller this year than it was last year, while nearly 30% aren’t expecting a return at all. But what do taxpayers plan to do with those refunds?
Over 35% plan to save any money they get back from the IRS. Just 5% said they’ll use it to plan a vacation, while 8% will use it for a big purchase. A quarter of respondents said that their tax returns will pay off debt, 20% will use it to buy essentials, and 13% will invest it.
What do the experts say?
So, when is the best time to file taxes? According to experts, the sooner the better.
“Filing taxes can be a stressful process, so it’s natural for Americans to procrastinate, but there are benefits to filing as early as you can,” Collin Czarnecki, a researcher with LLC.org, told ConsumerAffairs. “For example, if you plan to work with an accountant or CPA this tax season, it’s best to schedule an appointment with them as soon as possible before their calendars fill up.
“Also, filing as early as possible means that you’ll receive your refund quicker. According to the IRS, the average length of time to receive a refund is about 21 days or three weeks from the date the IRS receives your return. If you wait to file until Tax Day this year, which is April 18, you might not receive your return until May. Whereas if you were to file right now, you could be getting your refund before Tax Day.
“Depending on the amount of your refund, you can use that extra cash to chip away at debt, such as student loans, car payments, and credit cards,” Czarnecki said. “In fact, 25% of survey respondents say they plan to use their tax refund to pay off debt this year. Filing early can also help you financially prepare if you’re faced with an unexpected amount owed on taxes.”