‘Refund to Savings’ tax-time savings experiment has impact on household finances

Last year, almost 900,000 low- and moderate-income tax filers participated in a unique tax preparation savings intervention program, depositing approximately $5.9 million more into savings accounts than they would have without the intervention. As the 2014 tax season opens, the Refund to Savings initiative continues with adjustments designed to help more Americans build savings. “The intervention is promising,” says Michal Grinstein-Weiss PhD, associate director of the Center for Social Development, which helped develop the program.

‘Refund to Savings’ program largest-ever national savings experiment​

The Refund to Savings Initiative, the largest savings experiment ever conducted in the United States, begins with this tax season and is expected to reach almost 1.2 million households within the next few months. The project is a novel collaboration of university researchers, led by Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD, associate director of the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, and corporate partner Intuit Inc., the maker of TurboTax software, Quicken Books and Mint. This groundbreaking project is ushering in a new way of doing research.