Something that a lot of taxpayers (and tax preparers — including me) in Iowa often overlook is the “charitable checkoffs” a taxpayer can make on their Iowa tax return. Taxpayers can choose to donate money on their Iowa return to these causes:

  1. Fish and Wildlife: donations made here go towards Iowa’s Wildlife Diversity Program, which monitor’s the state’s “non-game” wildlife.
  2. Iowa State Fair Foundation: donations made here help fund improvements to the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
  3. Firefighters/Veterans Trust Fund: donations made here are split 50/50 between helping volunteer fire departments with training and helping veterans with things such as job training.

These are voluntary donations and are accounted for on Line 55 of your Iowa tax return. One caveat: any amount that you choose to donate will decrease your Iowa refund or increase the amount of tax you owe to Iowa.

If you itemize deductions, amounts donated to these programs is deductible as a charitable contribution — but you take the deduction on the following year’s return. (For example, if you donate on your 2013 Iowa tax return, you’ll get a charitable deduction when you file your 2014 federal and Iowa taxes.)

For more information, see this page on the Iowa Department of Revenue website.