Americans Worried About Late Tax Refund

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As the longest government shutdown in history drags on, more than two in three Americans are worried about not getting their tax refunds on time, according to a new survey by Salary Finance, the leading provider of salary-linked loans for employees. The survey found that a delayed tax refund could have a variety of financial repercussions for Americans, such as pushing more than one in five people to take on additional debt and causing nearly one in ten to overdraft their checking accounts.

Notable survey insights include:

  • Most Americans don’t have faith that their tax refunds will be delivered on time. According to the survey, 36.9of respondents are “very worried” that they will not receive their tax return on time and 30.3% are “a little worried.”
  • Delayed tax refunds will cause significant financial stress to American households. If tax refunds are delayed this year:
    • 42.9% of respondents say they will struggle to pay their day-to-day bills;
    • 20.4% will take on additional debt to make ends meet;
    • 7.7% will overdraft their checking accounts; and
    • 12.1% will rely on family and friends to help them with bills
  • Tax refunds are critical to financial wellness for a large portion of the population. Most people rely on tax refunds for their financial health, with 40.8% of respondents reporting that they plan to use their tax return to pay off debt and loans, and 16.2% earmarking their tax return to pay off medical debt. Another 32.6% say that they rely on tax returns to stabilize their bank accounts.

“The shutdown and potential delay in tax refunds comes at a time when most Americans are not in a position to take on additional financial stress—according to the U.S. Federal Reserve, 40% of American adults can’t afford a $400 emergency expense,” said Salary Finance CEO and co-founder, Asesh Sarkar. “Our recent survey highlights how daily financial challenges will increase for many Americans who depend on their annual refund to catch up on bills. The road to financial wellness will get much harder for many households nationwide if tax refunds are delayed.”

For more information about Salary Finance, please visit


About the Survey
Salary Finance commissioned SHIFT Communications to survey U.S. online consumers through Google Surveys about the perceived impact of the government shutdown on tax refunds. The survey was completed by 1,000 respondents with a 95% confidence level. Respondents were screened on the basis of whether or not they expected to receive a tax refund. The survey was weighed against the U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey for age, gender, and region of the United States to be representative of the population. Salary Finance was the sole investor in the survey. The survey period was January 18, 2019 – January 20, 2019. Data is available upon request.

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