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Will a $4,000 tax credit for vacation expenses happen? Travel industry leaders hope it does

Congress yet to back Explore America tax credit proposal

In this June 1, 2019, photo provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, beachgoers walk on a boardwalk at Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. The beach earned the first spot of top U.S beaches according to Florida International University professor Stephen Leatherman. The beach was chosen in part because of its sugar-white sand and its clear, emerald-green water. (Courtesy of Florida Department of Environmental Protection via AP)
In this June 1, 2019, photo provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, beachgoers walk on a boardwalk at Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. The beach earned the first spot of top U.S beaches according to Florida International University professor Stephen Leatherman. The beach was chosen in part because of its sugar-white sand and its clear, emerald-green water. (Courtesy of Florida Department of Environmental Protection via AP)

Hotels, airlines and restaurants have taken the biggest hit due to the coronavirus pandemic and to help the travel industry recover, lobbyists have proposed a tax credit Americans can use toward their next vacation.

The idea has President Donald Trump’s support, however, whether the idea makes it to the next federal stimulus bill remains to be seen.

In a round table discussion with restaurant industry leaders in May, Trump said he supports a proposal to Congress to include the “Explore America” tax credit, “that Americans can use for domestic travel, including visits to restaurants" in the next stimulus bill.

The proposal is a tax credit of up to 50% for a household’s spending on expenses including airfares, car rentals, hotels, theme parks and restaurants. The tax credit would be up to $4,000 per household and it would apply for eligible expenses in 2020 and 2021, according to accounting firm Bambridge Accountants New York.

Why are you just hearing about it now? Because leaders in the tourism industry are singing its praises and thanking Trump for supporting the idea.

In a news release, the U.S. Travel Association said, “an ‘Explore America’ tax credit and campaign will do wonders to put America back on the path to prosperity. We applaud the president’s support.”

“We are grateful that President Trump and Congress are taking the concerns of our industry seriously and look forward to working together to ensure our businesses can survive this crisis and our employees can get back to work," a statement from the Independent Restaurant Coalition read.

Before you make your vacation plans, the tax credit still needs to be reviewed by Congress and has not officially made it into a bill yet. Trump said during the May round table with restaurant executives he and his staff are working on a plan to jump start the U.S. economy.

Last month, the House passed a proposed $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES, Act that would send out another round of stimulus payments for most U.S. households, however, it still must get through the Republican-controlled Senate.


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