Since 2012, SPI researchers have led the Refund to Savings (R2S) Initiative, which is a partnership between Washington University, Duke University, and Intuit, Inc., the makers of TurboTax. R2S uses insights from behavioral economics to redesign the online tax filing experience to promote saving the tax refund in low- and moderate-income (LMI) households that use the TurboTax Freedom Edition software to complete their taxes. As a direct result of R2S interventions, Intuit and SPI researchers have generated over $94,000,000 in additional savings deposits for around 65,200 additional savers.
Beginning in 2018, SPI researchers have expanded the scope of R2S experiments beyond tax time savings to explore behavioral approaches to help households better manage their debt at tax time. Our current project involves delivering financial tips around debt management to households immediately after they learn what their tax refund will be or how much they will owe.