After slogging through your tax paperwork and writing a check to Uncle Sam (or, if you’re lucky, collecting a refund), it’s time to reward yourself for all that hard work. Dozens of restaurants, from the sit-down seafood chain McCormick & Schmick's to ice cream shop MaggieMoo's, are offering free treats in honor of tax day. Don’t miss out on these giveaways:
Cinnabon: From 6pm to 8pm, Cinnabons that are based inside malls will give away mini-cupcakes – two per customer. (Sorry, travelers, but Cinnabons based inside airports aren’t participating.)
MaggieMoo’s: From 3pm to 7pm, participating MaggieMoo’s ice cream shops will give out free samples of the chain’s new, intriguing ice cream flavor – pizza. Don’t worry, it doesn’t actually taste like tomato sauce and cheese, but looks like a pizza, complete with crust and toppings.
Taco Del Mar: If you live in the western part of the country, then you can stop by Taco Del Mar for a free taco. Just be sure to visit the chain’s website ahead of time to get the coupon in exchange for your E-mail address.
McCormick & Schmick's: The seafood chain is featuring dinner and drink specials at its bars for $10.40 (a reference to the 1040 tax form) and will give out gift certificates for $10.40 that patrons can use at their next visit. If you’re a professional tax preparer with a business card that proves it, then you can come in on Friday, April 16 for free dessert.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro: This Chinese restaurant will take 15 percent off meals (for take-out as well as in-house diners). You can have your pick of lettuce wraps, sesame chicken, orange peel beef, and anything else on the menu.
Starbucks: The coffee company is offering a free drip coffee to customers who bring in a reusable travel mug on April 15. Starbucks says its goal is to reduce the number of paper cups used by encouraging people to switch to reusable ones. While the giveaway occurs on our tax day, it’s also happening in other countries, including Australia, Thailand, and Argentina.
IHOP: The International House of Pancakes is offering free dinners to kids not just on April 15, but throughout the entire month of April. As long as their parents buy an adult entrée and eat between 4pm and 10pm, kids under 12 can eat grilled cheese, crispy chicken strips, and other items from the kids’ menu. The company says it wants to help feed customers’ “little tax deductions” and points out that the average household with one child spends $2,800 on food each year.
For other freebies, do a quick check of your favorite local spots. Some neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops are offering one-day discounts but are only advertising them to customers. So keep a look out for signs and announcements throughout the day – and pass the word on to friends. Also, keep an eye on your favorite chain’s Twitter and Facebook accounts on Thursday, because some are likely to announce last minute giveaways.
Meanwhile, if you owe the government money, don’t forget to drop your check in the mail, if you haven’t already. The IRS charges penalties and interest on late payments, which can quickly cancel out any potential savings from April 15 freebies.