Could a Travel Tax Credit Save the Domestic Tourism Industry?


What is the TRIP Act?

As a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the domestic tourist and travel industries are currently experiencing one of the worst hits in recent history. Many lawmakers are at work pitching ideas to see what legislation can help curtail the effects of this pandemic on tourist-focused economies and businesses.

The American Tax Rebate and Incentive Program (TRIP) Act is a recent bill currently making its rounds in Congress. This bill, introduced by Senator Martha McSally, would provide a tax credit for domestic travel of $4,000 per person ($8,000 for married couples filing a joint return), and an additional $500 for each child age 16 or younger.

What Areas of Travel Does this Credit Cover?

If this bill were to pass, it would only apply to domestic travel within U.S states and territories. The Bill states that in order to receive the credit, the destinations traveled to must be at least 50 miles away from the home you are registered as living in, and within a specified time frame that Congress has yet to agree upon (most likely the year 2021).

What Does this Credit Cover?

One of the selling points of this bill is its expansive coverage of travel and vacation costs. To list a few, if this bill were to pass the credit would cover expenses related to:

  • Hotel and Lodging
  • Travel
  • Food and Drink
  • Live entertainment
  • Conferences or business engagements

The broad nature of this coverage is purposeful, as some lawmakers believe it would help stimulate specific areas of the economy hit the hardest. Whether this bill passes or not is contingent on the manner of how this pandemic continues to be handled.

Critics of the bill state that if enacted too early, this bill may incentivize behavior that will prolong the pandemic and lead to another spike in outbreaks. This bill is one of many that will move its way through Congress in the next couple of months to combat the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while leveraging the costs to the American people.

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