Americans eager for Uncle Sam’s check

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Americans are filing their tax returns earlier this year.

The National Retail Federation’s Tax Returns Consumer Intentions survey found that 61.2 percent of consumers have already filed their tax returns or will file a return by the end of the month.

The survey also found that consumers filed earlier this year than they did last year; nearly one-third (28.5 percent) of Americans filed by mid-February, compared to 21.6 percent who had filed by that time last year. The remaining will file in March (23.7 percent) and April (15.2 percent).

This year, seven out of 10 consumers are expecting a refund (69.2 percent) when they file their 2007 taxes. Of those expecting a refund, 27.0 percent will spend it on everyday expenses, 12.1 percent will treat themselves to a major purchase and 12.1 percent will take a vacation. Consumers will also pay down their debt (46.5 percent vs. 43.1 percent in 2007).