As of March 16, at least 61 million early bird tax filers had already received refunds averaging $2,960 from the Internal Revenue Service.
But millions of other taxpayers are still rushing around gathering receipts and grappling with paperwork and electronic forms as the April 17 tax filing deadline nears.
Whichever column you’re in, you can still take advantage of Tax Day rewards ranging from free pizza and cookies to discounts on hotel stays and getaways.
Here’s a sampling of some of the deals I gathered for a piece on CNBC:
Free (and charmingly discounted) food and snacks
As is their tradition, on Tax Day, April 17, Great American Cookies will be giving away a free cookie to anyone who stops at one of their participating stores. This year’s treat is a Cookies & Cream cookie.
In keeping with its Tax Day motto of “No taxation without relaxation,” Kona Ice trucks will once again show up in many communities on April 17 to hand out free shaved ice. As part of its “Tastes Like America” menu campaign, on April 17 participating Hardee’s will offer customers a free Sausage Biscuit until 10 a.m. and Hot Dog on a Stick will give each customer that stops by participating locations one free Turkey or Veggie Dog on April 17.
Taking a cue from the tax forms, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria locations around the country are offering 16” Traditional Cheese pizzas for $10.40 on April 17. Bruegger’s Bagels is offering a downloadable coupon for a Big Bagel Bundle (13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese) for $10.40, a $3.50 “deduction,” they note, off the regular price. (Valid through April 17).
And Potbelly Sandwich Shops has set aside 75,000 free sandwiches as a Tax Day reward for people who join its Potbelly Perks program. Those already enrolled in the program will find a buy-one, get one-free sandwich offer loaded on their app April 17 for Tax Day use.
Throughout the month of April, four Kimpton hotels southern California – Hotel Palomar and Hotel Salomar in San Diego, the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach and The Goodland in Santa Barbara – are giving out “Random Refunds.” Each day one randomly chosen guest at each hotel will find they’ve been refunded a hotel charge such as the resort fee, parking charges, restaurant bill or perhaps the in-room movie.
From April 17 to 20, Hotel Saugatuck in Saugatuck, Michigan is offering a 20 percent discount to anyone who shows a current 1099 tax form (or proof of membership in the United Auto Workers or Freelancers unions). The B&B is also offering guests a box of local chocolate fudge at a discount, for $10.99.
Thinking of spending your tax refund in Europe? Rail Europe is offering travelers $25 off bookings of $400 made through April 24. Use code: TAXDAYRE18.
Budget-minded tax filers can also take advantage of some other timely travel deals that just happen to fall around April 17.
Filing taxes may not be a walk in the park, but anyone can take a walk in a National Park for free on Saturday, April 21, when entrance fees are waived at any of the National Parks that have them, including Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park and others where the entry fee per car can reach $20.
The U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways sale runs this year from April 9 through May 8 and features daily deals up to 60 percent off everything form loyalty point programs and car rental coupons to attractions tickets, hotel stays and more from travel companies such as Hertz, Hilton, and Universal Parks and Resorts.
A tidying-up trip
Once you’ve filed your taxes, be sure to store away the important financial paperwork you might need should the IRS come calling for an audit.
But don’t stuff everything back in that shoebox. Take a moment to review Consumer Report’s advice on what receipts and records you really need to keep and what can be thrown away.
Bundle the discards, print out this coupon for 5 pounds of free document shredding and take your first post-Tax Day trip to your local Office Max/Office Depot store.