Consumers Most Likely to Save or Invest Tax Refund, CNBC on MSN Money Survey Finds

REDMOND, Wash., March 11, 2004 — As the filing deadline approaches, a majority of taxpayers claim they expect to receive a refund this year and likely will save or invest the money. According to a CNBC on MSN®
Money survey* of more than 6,500 Americans, taxpayers are most interested in socking away their tax refunds, followed by paying down debt, enjoying leisure activities and making home improvements.

The survey found that 60 percent of respondents anticipate a tax refund this year, with 53 percent expecting a check for more than $1,000. Of those expecting a refund, 48 percent plan to save or invest the cash, 27 percent will pay down debt, 7 percent want to tackle home repair projects, and another 7 percent will participate in leisure activities (e.g., travel, dining out or attending sporting events).

Taxpayers also admitted to some of the mistakes they have made with past refunds — 28 percent “piddled it away to nothing” and 17 percent “made an unwise investment.” To help those consumers who would like to invest their tax refunds, CNBC on MSN Money provides a collection of financial news, expert commentary and award-winning tools that help investors monitor the markets and track holdings. Consumers looking to make an investment can research new opportunities with the Research Wizard, assess a stock’s potential using the StockScouter rating system and view their investments in the Portfolio Manager.

“The survey shows that consumers are thinking more about establishing and growing their nest egg by making investments and paying down debt,” said Chris Jolley, director of product management for the Financial Products Group at Microsoft Corp. “As a leading financial news and information Web site, MSN Money supports consumers’ evolving financial needs to give them the information they need, when they need it — from commentary on smart investment choices to savings strategies and ways to minimize taxes.”

Timesaving Tax Tools

As April 15 quickly approaches, taxpayers are looking for resources or tips to help make the filing process smooth and painless. With tools for estimating refunds and finding deductions, expert commentary on the latest tax laws, and filing services from H & R Block, the MSN Tax Center offers consumers a one-stop destination at tax time:

  • Prepare and file returns online. Consumers can quickly file state and federal tax returns online through H & R Block.

  • Estimate and maximize tax refunds. The Tax Estimator gives consumers an early read on expected refunds or payments, and the Deduction Finder helps them identify ways to maximize refunds.

  • Make smarter tax-time decisions. Useful tools, calculators and articles, such as “Make Tax Time Less Taxing” and “Tax Breaks for the Not-So-Rich,” in the Tax Decision Centers walk consumers step by step through a particular activity.

About CNBC on MSN Money

CNBC on MSN Money, located exclusively on MSN, combines the award-winning finance tools and content from Microsoft, the worldwide leader in software, with exclusive investment news and analysis from CNBC, the world’s most popular financial cable news network. CNBC on MSN Money empowers people at all levels of experience to easily complete a wide range of financial tasks, such as paying bills, viewing account balances, tracking investments, planning for retirement and staying informed with the latest financial news, in one convenient place online — any time, any place.

Leading industry publications, including Forbes, Money Magazine, PC Magazine and PC World Magazine, consistently applaud the personal finance tools and information from Microsoft. The service is available at or , or by visiting MSN at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

* January 2004

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