Better Business Bureau Tips for Using Your 2013 Tax Refund

April 04, 2013

Chicago, IL-March 26, 2013 - Deciding what to do if you receive a tax refund is an important decision in this economy. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) advises consumers to consider a few options that can provide some long-term financial benefits.

“For many people their tax return offers a large sum of money,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It is important to be smart about where you spend your money as it can help set you up to have a more financially stable year.”

Here are some options for tax refund recipients:

  • Pay down your debt. Use your refund for some much needed debt relief such as paying off a credit card. You can also apply the refund toward other debts, like a car loan or a home equity loan.
  • Consider savings options. It may be beneficial to put the money into a savings account, CD or retirement fund and allow it to grow. It’s always helpful to have a savings account to draw from if a major car repair bill, medical emergency or other unexpected expense comes along. That way, you won’t have to borrow money and add to your debt-load.
  • Consider investing in your home. Using the money to spruce up your house may add to its property value. Consumers can “Request a Quote” for free from BBB Accredited Businesses at
  • Donate to Charity.  You may want to donate some of your tax refund to a charitable organization. Check out reports on charities in northern Illinois for free at
  • If debt is a problem, consider a credit counselor. Certified consumer credit counseling agencies can assist people who are facing financial challenges and are looking for debt relief. The BBB has free Business Reviews on Credit & Debt Counseling firms in northern Illinois at

“It is important to consider your financial goals,” Bernas stated. “Are you trying to save for a down payment on a house or car? Do you hope to contribute to your child’s college tuition? Consider applying your tax refund toward these goals. If you don’t yet have a set of short-term and long-term financial goals, put one together. You’ll be more conscientious about how you spend your refund, or any other extra money that comes your way,” he explained.

For more consumer tips you can trust, visit


As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.