Image courtesy of user Nemo on

Image courtesy of user Nemo on

On Line 57 of Iowa tax returns, taxpayers are given the option of donating to four different causes. Those causes, known on the tax return as “charitable checkoffs,” are:

  • Fish and Wildlife Fund
  • State Fair Fund
  • Firefighters/Veterans Fund
  • Child Abuse Prevention Fund

I have found very few people actually making contributions to these causes on their tax returns, but the option does exist.

So how do these little-known “tax return contributions” work, and what are they for?

What are They For?

Fish and Wildlife Fund

Contributions here result in money being given to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Protection Fund, which supports a program that monitors the state’s “non-game” wildlife.

State Fair Foundation

Contributions here result in money being given to the Iowa State Fair Foundation, which helps fund capital projects and improvements to the fairgrounds.

Firefighters/Veterans Fund

Contributions here are split 50/50 between  the Fire Fighter Preparedness Fund and the Veterans Trust Fund. The firefighter fund is used to help local fire departments pay for training of their firefighters. The veterans fund helps pay for helping veterans find jobs, counseling, etc.

How Does it Work?

Taxpayers filing an Iowa return can choose to donate any dollar amount they want to any of these funds. Those donations result in a decrease in refund received, or an increase in the amount of tax owed.


Joe decides to donate $5 to the Fish and Wildlife Fund. Without the donation, he’d get a refund of $255. With the donation, his refund will be reduced to $250.

Next Year

Taxpayers donating money to these funds on Line 57 get to take a deduction for a charitable contribution on their tax returns the next year.


Using Joe’s donation of $5 to the Fish and Wildlife Fund. Let’s say he makes that donation when he files his 2015 Iowa tax return, which he files in 2016. He’ll get a $5 deduction for a charitable contribution on both his federal and Iowa tax return for 2016.

Further Reading

For more information, including links that give more info about each of these funds, click here to find the instructions for Line 57 from the Iowa Department of Revenue.

“This blog post, along with comments that may follow, should not be considered tax advice. Before you make final tax or financial decisions, please secure a professional tax advisor to give you advice about your unique situation. To secure Jason as your accountant, please click on the ‘Services’ link at the top of the page.”