Briefs & Summaries Financial Behaviors Financial Inclusion

Do EITC Recipients Use Their Tax Refunds to Get Ahead? Evidence From the Refund to Savings Initiative

Many U.S. households lack savings for unexpected expenses and financial shocks, but tax refunds and the Earned Income Tax Credit offer opportunities to set aside resources for use in emergencies. Understanding what EITC recipients do with their tax refunds is important for guiding federal policy to promote financial stability. This brief summarizes findings on the use of tax refunds by EITC recipients in the Refund to Savings (R2S) initiative. It also examines the use of financial services for saving refunds and the financial shocks experienced by EITC recipients during the 6 months after tax filing.

Project: Refund to Savings (R2S)


Despard, M. R., Perantie, D. C., Oliphant, J., & Grinstein-Weiss, M. (2015, July). Do EITC recipients use their tax refunds to get ahead? Evidence from the Refund to Savings initiative (CSD Research Brief No. 15-38). St. Louis, MO: Washington University in St. Louis, Center for Social Development.