Trump Admin Considering “Explore America” Tax Credit

Recently, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said nearly 200 millions jobs could be at risk globally if travel does not begin to reopen by the end of summer. To help kickstart the travel industry in the U.S., an interesting idea has bounced around Washington: a $4,000 tax credit.

In a roundtable with restaurant executives and other industry leaders held back in May, President Donald Trump brought up the concept of an “Explore America” tax credit “that Americans can use for domestic travel, including visits to restaurants.” It doesn’t seem there was much public follow-up on the initiative but the Orlando Sentinel reported last week that lobbyists working on the concept with officials in Congress and the Trump Administration are looking to create a tax credit, capped at $4,000 per household, which would apply to travel expenses through the end of 2021.

The U.S. Travel Association lobbyist, Tori Emerson Barnes, said the concept is modeled after a tax credit for first-time homebuyers that Congress passed in response to the housing bust and financial crisis from 2007 to 2009. The Orlando Sentinel reports that early drafts of the Explore America credit could be worth up to 50 percent of a household’s spending on expenses like airfare, rental cars, hotel rooms, tickets to attractions and dining at restaurants that are at least 50 miles away.

While this could help revive the tourism industry domestically and give a boost to the economy, Forbes points out that will would not be direct money like the $1,200 stimulus Americans received as a result of the CARES Act. There’s also the fact that COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases are increasing in 20 states, plus Puerto Rico, according to The New York Times. Among these states are California, Texas, Florida and Nevada.

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