Do tax-time savings deposits reduce hardship among low-income filers? A propensity score analysis

A lack of emergency savings renders low-income households vulnerable to material hardships resulting from unexpected expenses or loss of income. Having emergency savings helps these households respond to unexpected events, maintain consumption, and avoid high-cost credit products. Because many low-income households receive sizable federal tax refunds, tax time is an opportunity for these households to […]

Characteristics and hardships associated with bank account ownership among Refund to Savings participants

Having a bank account is one important way for households to securely accumulate savings, build credit, and earn interest on assets. Nationally, 7.7% of households are unbanked—lacking both a checking and a savings account. One proposed step toward financial inclusion is to encourage unbanked households to open accounts and deposit refunds into savings at tax […]

The role of health insurance in the financial lives of low- and moderate-income households

Health insurance is an important resource for enabling access to and use of medical care, and is associated with reduced risk for mortality and poor health outcomes. Health insurance also protects households from incurring major medical expenses and unmanageable levels of medical debt. About a quarter of a sample of low- and moderate-income (LMI) tax […]

Financial anxiety in low- and moderate-income households: Findings from the Household Financial Survey

Despite significant gains in the U.S. economy following the Great Recession, finances remain a common source of stress for many American households. In 2016, 52% of U.S. workers reported that their financial position made them stressed, and research reveals that stress and anxiety associated with finances are particularly common among low-income Americans. In this brief, […]

Senators propose ‘Rainy Day’ act to urge Americans to save (Links to an external site)

U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) proposed a plan to encourage Americans to build emergency funds. Under the bipartisan Refund to Rainy Day Savings Act, tax filers who receive a direct-deposit tax refund would be allowed to defer 20 percent of their refund by opting into the Rainy Day Savings Program on their 1040 tax form.

WashU Expert: Getting a tax refund? Consider saving it (Links to an external site)

Refund To Savings (R2S), is a collaboration of academic researchers from the CSD, Duke University and Intuit Inc., the maker of TurboTax tax preparation software. R2S builds a saving-promotion experiment as a randomized controlled trial into the TurboTax Free File Online product that is available free to low- and moderate-income households.