Getting a big tax refund? Time to adjust that W-4

Getting a big tax refund? Time to adjust that W-4
For most people a tax refund is the biggest windfall they get all year. In fact, more than half of all taxpayers expect to get a refund this year.

"People view it as found money and unfortunately it's your money," says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at

"People clearly have needs for the money whether it's debt or necessities, but they're perfectly content to lend the money to Uncle Sam for free for another year instead of getting that money into each and every paycheck during 2010," McBride says. just surveyed people to see what they're going to do with their refund money.

Most plan to use it to pay down debt, to invest or buy necessities. And that's good, but McBride says counting on a big refund is not good financial planning.

"Despite all the pressing needs people have for this cash, only 19 percent were actually going to go back and adjust their tax withholding so that they don't get that big refund next year," he says.

McBride has this advice: if you get a big refund this year, you really should adjust your withholding so you don't get such a big refund next year. It's easy to do. Just file a new W-4 with your employer and within a few weeks you should see your take home pay go up.