Publication Date



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.

Document Type

Research Brief


Financial Inclusion


Financial Behaviors

Original Citation

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.


Refund to Savings (R2S)


assets, asset accumulation, asset building, bank accounts, savings, saving, credit, debt, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), savings, contingency, experiment, financial services, Household Financial Survey (HFS), randomized controlled trial, Refund to Savings (RS), tax credit, tax refunds, TurboTax Freedom Edition