In the 2018 tax season, SaveYourRefund will once again offer tax filers the chance to win cash prizes for saving a portion of their tax refunds.
Now in its sixth year, the SaveYourRefund campaign provides fun and exciting incentives for Americans to build financial security at tax time. This year, in addition to giving away 100 prizes of $100, the campaign is turning even more savers into winners by awarding two grand prizes of $10,000 each through a photo and caption contest in which tax filers share their motivation for saving.
SaveYourRefund is a partnership between Commonwealth and America Saves. Since 2013, nearly 12,000 entrants have saved $10 million through SaveYourRefund.
“SaveYourRefund helps tax filers take a critical step on the path to financial security. Saving some of a tax refund can become an annual habit and even a small amount saved can make a big difference,” said Commonwealth Executive Director Tim Flacke.
Nearly half of all Americans do not have enough savings to cope with even small emergencies, yet more than 100 million taxpayers get refunds each year, and households making less than $50,000 claim $100 billion in federal tax refunds. For many, that tax refund is the largest check that they will receive all year. This windfall provides the perfect opportunity to start or grow an emergency fund, and the chance to win a prize has proven to be a powerful motivator for saving.
“Savings isn’t an amount, it’s an activity, and tax time is the perfect opportunity for the millions of Americans who receive a refund to start a savings habit” said Allie Vered, America Saves Director. “SaveYourRefund motivates tax files to jumpstart their savings.”
SaveYourRefund is offered through a nationwide network of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (or VITA) sites, where taxpayers can learn about the prizes and get free help filing returns. Assistance and information will also be available through other VITA, volunteer, and community offices and online at www.SaveYourRefund.com.
The winner of the 2017 Grand Prize Photo Contest, Ivonne Sonato-Vega, received free tax preparation assistance through the United Way of the Wine Country in Santa Rosa, California.
“Thanks to SaveYourRefund, I am able to pursue my dream to become a NICU nurse and help other families who are in the same situation I was with my premature daughters,” said Sonato-Vega. “It also gives me the ability to save up even more for a down payment for a house.”
“We realize that for most of our clients, tax time is the only time in a given year that a family or individual will have this kind of extra infusion of income,” said Suzanne Yeomans, Income Program Officer at United Way of Wine Country. “Tax time is then the best time to consider putting at least some money to the side into another account before they even get their refund. For many, it is more about the behavioral change of doing something they have never tried because they do not believe they can or ‘do not see the point of savings’ because they are always in financial crisis month-to-month.”
Sonato-Vega is the daughter of immigrants, a mother of three, and the first person in her family to go to college. Currently a medical assistant, her goal is to return to school to become a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse and work in the same hospital alongside the people who saved the lives of her two children who were born prematurely.
“My parents always taught us that you should spend on what you need and not what you want,” said Sonato-Vega. “I’ve done the same with my kids.”
Commonwealth is a mission-driven organization that strengthens the financial opportunity and security of financially vulnerable people by discovering ideas, piloting solutions and driving innovations to scale. We collaborate with consumers, the financial services industry, policy makers and mission-driven organizations to build solutions that make wealth possible for everyone.
America Saves, a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America, seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. The research-based campaign uses the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to change behavior. Nonprofit, government, and corporate groups participate in America Saves nationally and through local, regional, and statewide campaigns around the country. America Saves encourages individuals and families to take the America Saves pledge and organizations to promote savings year-round and during America Saves Week. Learn more at americasaves.org and americasavesweek.org.