Most Americans (85%) will receive a federal tax refund averaging $2,803. What will spendthrift Americans do with the money? More than twice as many will spend rather than save it, according to Capital One Bank’s annual taxes and savings survey.

More than a third (35%) plan to spend all or part of the refund, while only 16% will save it. Nearly a quarter (22%) will use the refund to pay down debt and 4% will invest their returns.

Of those who plan to spend all or part of their refund this year, 23% will spend it on vacation. One in three will spend it on everyday expenses and necessities with the rest spending it on various items, including clothing and accessories (16%), iPads, smartphones and other electronics (15%), and major purchases (16%).  

Less than half (42%) were aware that that their take-home pay would decline this year due to the recent elimination of the payroll tax holiday by Congress. The awareness was greater among men, with 47% saying they were very aware of the decline in take-home pay, compared with 38% for women.

“At a time when people are seeing smaller paychecks, now more than ever they should take a step back, evaluate their financial goals and consider saving their tax refund,” Mickey Konson, managing vice president for Retail Banking at Capital One Bank, said in a statement.

The telephone survey polled 1,006 U.S. adults age 18 and over. It was conducted February 5, 2013 – February 10, 2013 by opinion research firm Braun Research of Princeton, N.J.

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