STIMULUS CHECKS

$4,000 Travel Tax Credit: 'Explore America' is not second stimulus check

Millions of payments went out after the CARES Act was signed and now, with eyes on a second stimulus package, needy Americans are looking for clarity.

$4,000 Travel Tax Credit: 'Explore America' is not second stimulus check
Carlos Barria REUTERS

The CARES Act was signed into law back in March and by the beginning of June there had been just shy of 160 million payments issued out to American households in an attempt to support people through the financial impact of the current coronavirus pandemic. Now, as the economies across the states start to reopen, the need for another injection of support is undeniable - some would argue long overdue - but what that aid will look like is far from clear.

$4,000 tax credit not a stimulus check

There has been a wide selection of proposals made on how to package up a new stimulus bill but the only one to have taken a significant step forward has been the much-debated HEROES Act. Awaiting its vote in Congress, and with little chance of passing in its current wording, eyes have turned to more viable alternatives, one of which is the ‘Explore America’ tax credit that was pushed by President Donald Trump.

The US Travel Association put out some details of how this could work stating that it should “create a tax credit worth 50 percent of qualified travel expenses incurred in the US between the date of enactment and December 31, 2021, up to a maximum tax credit of $4,000 per household.” As you can see, this is not the same as the stimulus check of $1,200 that was issued to individuals in the first round of support measures.

Although the credit could definitely be a boost for the economy, the tourism industry in particular, it will not address the huge number of Americans just trying to make ends meet. We have already assessed the differences between the Explore America idea and that more aligned to the HEROES Act and which is most likely to come to fruition.

There are a number of factors at play regarding when a decision will be made on the next stimulus package - including the risk of a second wave of Covid-19 infections taking hold as well as the November presidential election - but some have pointed to the 8 August as a critical date. For many struggling with finances, especially those that have not received a first payment, that will feel like a long time to wait.