WASHINGTON - Sen. Martha McSally has pitched a new bill that would give Americans a hefty financial incentive to take a vacation and revive the tourism industry that's been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Arizona Republican introduced the American TRIP Act Monday that would give each American a $4,000 tax credit to take a trip. The vacation credit, retroactive to Jan. 1, would increase to $8,000 for joint tax filers, plus an additional $500 for dependent children.
“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. “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."
Americans would be eligible for the tax credit as long as they travel within the United States and its territories after Dec. 31, 2019, and before Jan. 1, 2022, according to the bill.
Travelers would just have to vacation at least 50 miles away from their home. Expenses eligible for the tax credit would include lodging, transportation costs, and entertainment.
Americans who already own a vacation home would be able to get some of the benefit, too. The tax credit could be applied to transportation and entertainment at their second home, but just not the mortgage.
A tax credit directly reduces the amount of money Americans owe to the IRS. So under the legislation, if an individual tax filer owes $15,000, for example, to the federal government in taxes next year and the person had spent $4,000 on a qualified trip, then the tax bill is reduced to $11,000.
McSally's bill would also give $50 million to help destination marketing organizations promote travel and tourism across the nation.
McSally, who is up for election this fall, is in a tough race against Democratic candidate Mark Kelly, a former astronaut.