Home > Consumer Behavior & Trends, Monthly Consumer Survey > Generation Gap: Yuck, It’s Tax Season

Generation Gap: Yuck, It’s Tax Season

Ah, the joys of Spring…the birds are chirping, the weather’s getting warmer, and Uncle Sam is banging on your door. With April 15th fast approaching, this is the one time of year I’m thankful I married an accounting nerd!

But enough about me, let’s focus on the different generations…as it turns out, the year you were  born is very much likely to influence your annual approach to signing your life away to the U.S. Treasury being a good, law-abiding citizen:

Silent (born 1945 or earlier)
Boomers (born 1946 – 1964)
Gen X (born 1965 – 1982)
Gen Y (born 1983 – 1993)

While a record number of taxpayers overall intend to use at least some of their refunds for savings, this plan is most prevalent with the youngest generation. Among Gen Y-ers anticipating a refund, 52.2% will to plunk this cash back into their piggy banks, compared to Silents (46.5%) and Gen X (44.7%). Boomers are the least likely generation to save their refunds (38.8%).

Perhaps still under the shadow of a student loan, mortgage, growing family “stuff,” holiday spending [etc., etc., etc.], Gen X-ers are the most likely generation to apply refunds to current debts (49.3%). About two in five (39.5%) Boomers plan to do the same, followed by Gen Y (36.3%) and Silents (27.3%).

Interestingly, it’s not all work and no play for the refunds received by Gen Y. One in five (19.5%) of these youngsters expecting a refund intends to make a major purchase (like a TV, furniture, car, etc.), quadruple the number Silents (5.1%) planning to do the same. Fewer than one in ten (8.3%) Boomers plans to use their refund toward a high-dollar expenditure, while Gen X-ers are nearly as likely as their younger counterparts to splurge (16.3%).

Other tax facts this year:
– Gen X is the generation most likely to file their taxes online. Seven in ten (68.1%) plan to e-file, compared to Boomers (60.2%), Gen Y (55.7%), and Silents (52.0%).
– Two in five Gen X-ers (42.6%) plan to prepare their taxes with computer software, higher than any other generation.
– Nearly a third of Silents (30.6%) plan to use an accountant this year, the top prep method with this generation.
– About one in five (18.8%) of those in Gen Y will have a spouse, friend, or dear-old-dad [or mom] other relative prepare their taxes, double the number of those in other generations planning to do the same.
– Three in four of those in Gen X (76.8%) and Gen Y (72.2%) are anticipating a refund this year, perhaps explaining why about 70% of these lucky ducks were planning to file in February or earlier.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

And to view the original Nation Retail Federation Tax Returns release, click here.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – FEB-12 (N = 8716, 2/1 – 2/8/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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