It’s tax season, and chances are your expenses look a little different in 2020 considering we all barely traveled, had significantly fewer meals and drinks out with friends, and just generally shook up what we spent money on during lockdown.
Well, Hotels.com is asking you to add up your “only in 2020” expenses in order to win something even better than a tax break—some spending money for your next trip. A survey by the site showed that 85 percent of people are planning to use some of their tax refund on travel, so this means you won't have to dip into your tax refund.
The booking website’s new, cheekily-named “Write Off 2020” contest asks entrants to file a faux-tax form (1040-X) for the chance to win a Hotels.com credit and Visa gift card to use toward your 2021 return to travel. The total "refund" amount? $2,741, the average refund amount from last year's tax season.
The form starts by asking about any changes to your status (new pet? elopement?), number of travel dependents, and your travel status (solo, with a friend, or with a partner), and then moves on through the specifics of an unprecedented year. Instead of a social security number, they ask for your Hotels.com member number—so be sure to sign up.
You’ll also need to fill out an itemized list of “expenses” encountered during your lockdown life, adding up things like the number of pounds of sourdough bread consumed, number of hours lost on TikTok, number of hours spent daydreaming about a vacation, and gallons of gas burned for cross-country road trips. There’s also an area to calculate losses, from the number of vacations canceled and the number of reward points lost to how many spa treatments and late-night room service meals were missed out on. Finally, you have to let them know where you want to take that post-pandemic trip.
Even though the IRS may have extended the deadline for your actual tax forms, Hotels.com is holding steady and keeping it real—all 1040-X forms must be submitted by 5 p.m. ET on April 15. You’ve also got to be at least 18 years old at the time of entry and must be a legal resident of the United States.
You can only enter once, but the good news is that they will be picking 10 winners. However, they won’t be posting the winners online—you’ll have to send a self-addressed stamped envelope within four weeks of the contest end date requesting the results.