Senator’s bill would pay taxpayers $4,000 to take a vacation

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WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 06: Sen. from Arizona Martha McSally (R-AZ) wears a mask depicting the Arizona state flag as she listens to testimony during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of Defense Spectrum Policy and the Impact of the Federal Communications Commissions Ligado Decision on National Security during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on Capitol Hill on May 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shawn Thew – Pool/Getty Images)

Senator Martha McSally, R-Ariz., introduced a bill Monday that would provide thousands of dollars in travel incentives with the goal of stimulating the U.S. tourism industry.

The “American Tax Rebate and Incentive Program Act” would give a tax credit of $4,000 ($8,000 to couples filing jointly) annually through the year 2022. The bill would also provide $500 credits per qualifying children.

The American TRIP Act credit can be used domestically to pay for food and beverages, lodging, transportation, live entertainment and other travel expenses.

Qualifying travel is defined as:

  • Within the United States
  • To a destination not less than 50 miles from the taxpayer’s principal residence
  • After December 31, 2019 and before January 1, 2022.

“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 statement on her website. “Arizona has lost billions in revenue this year alone due to the pandemic. 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.

Meantime cases continue to spike in McSally’s home state and elsewhere as states open up their economy. Just how risky it might be to take a crowded plane flight this summer, for instance, is not clear.

In an interview with Forbes, tax expert Steven Dennis also said the bill would only provide a travel tax credit to those who pay federal income taxes.

According to estimates from the nonprofit Tax Policy Center, in 2018 44% of Americans didn’t pay any federal income tax, largely because they didn’t make enough money to owe anything to the government.

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