Americans Plan to Save and Pay Bills, According to Compete 2011 Tax Survey

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Earlier this week, I received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service marked “official business.” I must admit I shook a little with apprehension. In turn, however, I was delighted to learn that I would be getting an unexpected, additional refund. (My delight was heightened by the relief I felt knowing I wasn’t going to be the subject of an audit.)

Unexpected refund! To save or spend, that is the question.

With all that is weighing down the economic outlook – the slow uptick in the jobs report, a still-weak housing market, and the rising price of oil and Middle East unrest – Americans report they are more likely to save money this year than spend when they have a choice.

According to a recent Compete study, 68.4% of Americans who will file 2010 tax returns expect to receive a refund. The largest share of these Americans plan to pay bills (27.5%). However, when choosing between general savings (20.9%) and retirement savings (2.9%) or vacation (7.6%) and buying something special (7.9%), Americans say they are saving more and spending less of their discretionary funds.

More Americans Are Filing Taxes Online

Additionally, the majority of respondents (48.4%) reported they will or have filed their taxes online, up 3.2% since 2009. Turbo Tax is the most popular online option with 23.2% of respondents using it, followed by TaxACT (8.4%) and H & R Block (6.8%).

TaxACT, although generating the fewest unique visitors to their site, outpaces H & R Block in terms of completed or filed taxes. This brings up a few interesting questions. How is TaxACT moving its visitors through the filing funnel? And, how can online tax providers improve their conversion rates?

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We’ll answer these questions in our next blog post when we take a closer look at conversion data and how these companies are moving visitors through their online submission process. Stay tuned!

About Jennifer Canfield:
Jennifer Johnston Canfield is a Senior Associate in Financial Services at Compete. Jennifer is responsible for providing competitive analysis to financial services clients. Before Jennifer joined the Compete team she was a social media marketing consultant. Connect with Jennifer on Twitter (@jbjcanfield) or LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferjohnstoncanfield).