You’ve done your paperwork–now it’s time to celebrate. National chains and local shops throughout the country are giving away food, massages, and even HBO on April 18, this year’s tax deadline. Here’s your guide to the best tax day deals:
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MaggieMoo’s: The ice cream chain is offering free mini ice cream sundaes between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday. Customers can try the new crumb cake sundae, featuring cinnamon ice cream, streusel cake, and whipped cream.
Cinnabon: Anyone who stops by between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. can get two free “cinnamon bites.” If you know how to Tweet, you can also enter the store’s Twitter contest by explaining how “Cinnabon put frosting on a crazy or stressful day you’ve had” in 140 characters or less for a chance to win a $100 Cinnabon gift card. (Follow and tag @CinnabonInc and see taxdaybites.com for details.)
Arby’s: The fast food chain is giving away its signature curly fries to kick off tax weekend on Friday, April 15, between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Just print the coupon off the company’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/arbys) and bring it to the restaurant.
Bruegger’s: Customers can score a baker’s dozen plus two tubs of cream cheese for $10.40 from April 15 to 18 if you bring in a coupon, available through the bagel chain’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/brueggers).
California Tortilla: You can get free chips and cheese (or salsa, if you prefer) Monday with any purchase.
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P.F. Chang’s: The Chinese restaurant chain is offering a 15 percent discount on all Tax Day orders, which includes dine-in and take-out, with the exception of Happy Hour orders and beverages.
McCormick and Schmick’s: The seafood restaurant is celebrating Tax Day for two days, on April 15 and April 18. On Friday, the dining spot will offer an “early filers happy hour,” where you can pick up a $10.40 “tax relief certificate” to put toward dinner. On Monday, the menu will feature entrées and bar specials for $10.40 (plus guests can pick up another $10.40 certificate).
IHOP: Every day in April–not just Tax Day itself–children age 12 and under eat for free, as long as their parents purchase an adult entrée. (One free kid meal per adult entrée, between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.) The kids’ menu features macaroni and cheese, pancakes, cheeseburgers, and other items, and all the meals come in at under 600 calories.
National Park Week: Tax Day coincides with National Park Week, which means free entrance into the more than 100 national parks that usually charge fees. You can also volunteer to help with park upkeep on Saturday, April 16. Visit www.nps.gov/npweek to find a participating park near you.
HydroMassage: If there’s a HydroMassage location nearby, you might be able to get a free 10-minute massage between April 14 and April 18. (HydroMassages are usually found inside fitness centers, tanning salons, spas, and other small businesses.) Not all locations are participating, so the company recommends calling in advance to check and schedule your treatment.
Cable television: DirectTV, along with a handful of other providers, are offering free access to HBO and Cinemax between April 15 and April 18.
Exercise: Bally Total Fitness is giving its members free personal training sessions, and non-members can work out at no charge on Monday.
Spa week: Spas throughout the country are offering a variety of treatments, from massages to facials, for $50 between April 11 and April 17. (Services usually cost as much as $500.) The fact that spa week falls on tax day might be a coincidence, but it can still help you relax after making the deadline. Find a participating spa near you at www.spaweek.com.
Office Depot: The supply store is offering free shredding (up to five pounds) as well as 25 pages of tax document copying at no charge. Just bring in this coupon before April 23.
For other freebies, check your favorite local spots. Some neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops are offering one-day discounts, but are only advertising them to customers. Yogurtland, the Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt shop popular with celebrities, for example, is offering a “fan pass” to customers that includes two ounces of free frozen yogurt every day between April 15 and April 19. The fact that this freebie falls on tax day is just random luck; Yogurtland happens to be celebrating its five-year anniversary.
Also, track your favorite chain’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, because some are likely to announce last-minute giveaways and updates on their freebies. Most national chains, including almost all of the restaurants mentioned above, regularly update their Twitter pages with the latest information on discounts. At least two websites, taxdayfreebies.com and Brad’s Deals, are posting regular updates as retailers announce new offers.
Just be sure you don’t rely on old lists to plan your freebie food crawl, because many companies have reversed their tax day policies. Past participants who are skipping tax day celebrations this year include Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Ben Jerry’s (the ice cream shop hosted its annual free cone day April 12 this year), and Chick-fil-A (some local stores might offer deals, but there’s no chain-wide promotion).
And don’t let these freebies translate into a shopping spree. Restaurants and retailers aren’t making these offers out of the goodness of their hearts; they hope customers spend more as a result. So while you’re out copying your tax documents or picking up free ice cream, don’t blow your refund at the same time.