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Would You Take a $4,000 Vacation Credit from the Government?

An Arizona senator wants to give Americans a $4,000 tax break for travel through 2021, so long as you spend the money towards a vacation within the United States. A new bill would offer the credit for qualified travel, lodging and entertainment bills, while giving destination marketing organizations a boost.

One United States senator wants to give you $4,000 to travel starting this year, as long as your trip stays within American borders. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) introduced a bill on Monday, June 23, which would grant tax credits for qualified vacations in 2020 and 2021.

American TRIP Act Offers Tax Credits for Qualified Travels

Under the senator’s proposal, individual tax filers would receive up to a $4,000 tax credit per year to travel before Jan. 1, 2022. Joint filers would receive $8,000, with an additional $500 credit for dependent children.

The credits come with a number of rules. Travelers must vacation within the United States and its territories, and  must be more than 50 miles away from the traveler’s primary home. In addition, vacationers must pay for their travel, as business travel expenses don’t qualify.  While those who own a vacation home can claim transportation, food, beverage and live entertainment towards their credit, the credit can’t be used to pay the mortgage, interest or home maintenance.

If the trip qualifies, flyers can claim most of their expenses related to their vacation. This includes air travel, food and beverages, lodging, transportation, live entertainment (including sporting events), and expenses related going to business meetings and conferences. Those who choose to drive would be allowed to claim mileage at the standard rate set by the Internal Revenue Service.

Bill Wants to Jumpstart Travel Industry Recovery

In addition to the personal tax credit, the Senate bill would also earmark $50 million for destination marketing organizations to promote their locations towards flyers. McSally says the goal of the bill is to help re-awaken the travel industry hit heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The tourism and hospitality industries were among the hardest hit sectors across the country and their revival is critical to our economic recovery,” McSally said in a press release. “My legislation will help boost domestic travel and jumpstart the comeback of our hotels, entertainment sectors, local tourism agencies, and the thousands of businesses that make Arizona one of the best places in the world to visit.”

The proposal comes as the U.S. Travel Association predicts a major drop in travel spending. In a recent study, the trade organization projects American consumers will spend 40 percent less on domestic tourism, while inbound spending from foreign countries would drop by 75 percent compared to 2019.

cairns June 30, 2020

Never underestimate the stupidity of Congress.

thebug622 June 29, 2020

So China is going to lend us the money to go on vacation and our grandchildren will need to pay for it?Its no wonder Mcsally will be losing the next election to a dem,this is a terrible idea from a poorly run government

jjmoore June 27, 2020

I hate this idea of a government subsidy to the tourism industry. At the end of the day, it is taxpayer money hundreds of billions of $$, mind you!!). I would vote against this every step of the way. If it passes, however, I am not going to decline, but will certainly look for ways to utilize that money towards tourism outfits that could benefit from it (not just staying at a huge corporation Marriott hotel, for instance).

ranles June 26, 2020

If it is a tax credit, I feel a mileage run in the offing for FT Members to accumulate FF miles, on taxpayers. Sad.

Churnman June 25, 2020

Just take the money they are just thinking about that would go toward this and give $2k to every wage earning and those on SS. That would help them buy vehicles, downpayment on housing, household goods, travel, tuition or their other taxes in their location. For some, it would help with food, utilities, rent payments, car payments... In other words, if you want to stimulate the economy, send a check and let the taxpayer decide where they should spend it. Even the Fed Reserve folks have said a future stimulus given direct to people will help the economy, improve growth, improve retailers, improve jobs. It's going to have to be more than the last check to get attention and really thwart the recession. I realize the debt is a concern for some, but at 0% interest, the government is wise to stimulate now by giving some of our hard earned money back and that in turn creates jobs which creates a better revenue stream. If you want more eggs in the country's basket, you've got to feed the chickens - this is not the time for a diet. This also betters people's lives which leads to better nutrition which leads to better health which leads to less strain on the healthcare system and then some can choose to travel. They will travel because they've been in lockdown and going stir crazy. That's a better recipe for those in the travel industry.