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RISMEDIA, March 31, 2009-As the tax deadline approaches, many Americans have refunds on their mind. While the arrival of a refund once meant a shopping spree to many, this year, Americans are skipping the spring sales to boost their savings and eliminate debt, according to a new survey released by ING DIRECT.

According to the company, the results of the survey report that seven in 10 (71%) Americans who expect to receive a federal tax refund for 2008 will not be spending, but saving it, investing it or using it to pay off debt.

In these difficult economic times, Americans are also banking on their refunds to put food on the table and pay bills. More than half (51%) of Americans expecting a federal tax refund this year said they are using their federal tax refund to cover basic household expenses, including an alarming 65% who are under the age of 35.

“Although Americans are often encouraged to spend their refunds to help stimulate the economy, Americans are choosing to save themselves first. They strongly believe their top priorities are to stimulate their personal finances and keep the lights on at home. Americans are scaling back and they are doing their part to become more financially responsible citizens,” said Arkadi Kuhlmann, president of ING DIRECT USA, one of the nation’s largest direct banks.

With uncertainty in the marketplace, Americans are doing their best to make do and save more money.

Other survey results include:
– Almost half (46%) of Americans between the ages of 35 to 54 who expect to receive a federal tax refund this year intend to use it to pay off debt
– One in four Americans expecting a federal tax refund (27%) plan to save their refund and one in three (39%) will pay off debt with their refund
– For Americans who owe taxes this year, 43% stated they will dip into their savings to pay

About the survey
The national online survey was conducted within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of ING DIRECT between March 17-19, 2009 among 2,115 adults age 18+.

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