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Burgers, shaved ice and cheap hotel stays: Tax Day specials

"The CPA" frostie
Source: Bananas Smoothies and Frozen Yogurt
"The CPA" frostie

Whether you're a taxpayer due an income tax refund this year or a filer waiting for the very last second to send the government a check, there are some money-saving, free and entertaining Tax Day rewards available.

Because of Washington, D.C.'s observance of Emancipation Day, which falls on April 15 this year, the IRS is deferring to the legal holiday. That means taxes aren't due until April 18.

The extra filing days give taxpayers time to find a few more deductions and, for those getting what the IRS reports as the average $2,800 refund, more time to plan their splurges. And if you're in need of a thrifty reward or a full-blown vacation, everything from cookies to burgers and cheap hotel stays are on offer.

For taxpayers getting refunds, Priceline offers some suggestions for frugal but fun May vacation spots that cost less than this year's average tax refund.

Using New York as a starting point, the travel site found three-day packages including airfare and three-, four- and five-star hotel stays for under $1,000 in Miami Beach, Las Vegas and San Juan. A $2,000 refund can get New Yorkers package vacations to resorts in Waikiki or St. Thomas.

And, for taxpayers getting a refund check from Uncle Sam for $3,000, Priceline suggests a 10-day cruise to Alaska, or a flight and hotel package to London or Australia.


For the fourth year, Great American Cookies will be handing out free chocolate chip cookies (one per customer) on Tax Day, at participating locations across the country. "Whether or not you're receiving a refund this year, Great American Cookies is here to add some more dough to your life," David Kaiser, the company's brand vice president, said in a statement.

During the third annual Sing For Your Supper promotion taking place at participating Hard Rock Cafes around the country, on April 18 taxpayers can celebrate filing their forms with a song — and a free hamburger.

There's a catch: To get the free burger you'll have sing that song up on stage.

Meanwhile, Kona Ice will be giving away free tropical shaved ice in communities nationwide on Tax Day. The company's trucks will be parked at post offices, tax preparation centers and businesses nationwide, handing out free cups of shaved ice and complimentary Hawaiian leis. The message: "no taxation without relaxation this tax season."

To find out where the Kona Ice trucks will be park, tweet your zip code to the company's Twitter handle.

Cheap hotel rooms, but only if you're union

This year there's a much-deserved Tax Day freebie just for beleaguered certified public accountants, many of whom are cramming to get receipts in order for that filing.

On April 17 and 18, Bananas Smoothies & Frozen Yogurt, with branches in the Cleveland, Orlando, Albany and Washington Dulles airports, malls and other locations, will have a special drink on the menu. Called "The CPA," it is made with strawberries, bananas and a dash of get-those-taxes done Red Bull Yellow Edition.

On both days, anyone in the profession presenting a valid CPA license will get the smoothie for free.

From April 18-21, the Huron House Bed and Breakfast in Oscoda, Michigan is offering a deal for a select group. Anyone who shows a current 1099 tax form, or proof of membership in the United Auto Workers or Freelancers union, will receive a 20 percent discount on their stay. The B&B is also offering guests a box of gourmet local chocolates for $10.99.

Also, many Kimpton hotels around the country are once again offering some creative perks and packages for Tax Day. At Kimptons in Chicago (Hotel Paloma, Chicago, Hotel Monaco Chicago, Hotel Burnham and Hotel Allegro) guests pay just $10.40 for their pick of a special perk (parking, appetizer and cocktail, bottle of wine or Prosecco) valued at $20 on April 18.

For last-minute filers, the Hotel Monaco in Portland, Oregon will pay the postage for guests choosing to mail in their tax forms. The offer runs through April 18.


—By Harriet Baskas, special to CNBC.com. Baskas is the author of seven books, including "Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You," and the Stuck at the Airport blog. Follow her on Twitter at @hbaskas . Follow Road Warrior at @CNBCtravel.