It's tax time - and for some, that means a little more of your own cash in your pocket. Many companies will offer to "double your tax refund", provided you participate in a contest, sweepstakes or make a qualified purchased. In this article, we scout out the best of 2011's opportunities designed to get twice the mileage from your return. (For related reading, also check out 5 Ways To Receive Your Tax Refund.) TUTORIAL: Personal Income Tax Guide
Turbo Tax's VIP Trip and Double Refund Sweepstakes
In celebration of the new SnapTax iPhone and Android app, TurboTax is giving away a trip to L.A., as well as up to $2,000 in tax refund matching. (You do not need to make a purchase or have your taxes done by TurboTax to be entered to win.) Entrants must watch the video at the sweepstakes link and fill out the entry form by March 25 to be eligible.
Liberty Tax's My Refund Story Contest
This tax preparation provider, based out of Virginia Beach, VA (but with a national client base) is giving those who have used the service a chance to double their refunds just by sharing their stories. The most compelling and unusual experiences are eligible, and a minimum of six entrants will be chosen to win twice their refund amount, and a chance to have their story made into video. There is a maximum of $5,000 awarded per winner, and residents of New York are not eligible.
Green Dot's Double Your Refund Sweepstakes
By choosing to have your federal tax refund deposited onto a reloadable prepaid card from Green Dot, you are entered to win twice your refund amount (up to $5,000.) There will be a total of 10 winners in this promotion, and the prize can be awarded as a credit on the Green Dot card with which you signed up, or presented as a check. You don't need to have an account with Green Dot or use one with your refund, however, and you can even enter this one by mail.
Double Your Money for LASIK Surgery
This offer is regional (and we can't vouch for the services offered at a particular provider), but it is a reflection of the trend nationwide for eye surgeons to bring in new business with a "double your refund" promotion. While almost all of these deals have a limit on how much credit the consumer will receive, even a savings of $1,000 could make the procedure more affordable.
Twice the Car when Using Your Refund
Auto dealers were among the first to offer to credit twice the amount of a tax refund towards a purchase. Canada's GoAuto, for example, will accept an H&R Block Cash Back Debit Card and double the amount towards a vehicle. Some have argued that revealing the amount of your refund to a dealer actually gives the salesman more of an idea of what you may be willing to spend (putting you at risk of paying an inflated price). Reputable dealers, however, will be more than willing to take a little less to see the car leave the lot - saving you big money in the process.
TUTORIAL: How To Manage Credit And Debt
The Bottom Line
There are many types of small businesses that will be offering double refund promotions this year - hoping to get you to buy from them. Before you jump into any purchase or commitment, however, it's always best to determine if it's the best deal for you (even with the extra discount.) These types of promotions can force a decision to buy before you're ready, and that can be costly! (For additional reading, also see Top Ways To Invest Your Tax Refund.)
Note: For full prizing and entry requirements, see the promotion official rules from each contest host.