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It’s time to make the tax season just a little bit wild....

January 7, 2018
Kevin Williams - Grundy County Conservation Director , Reinbeck Courier

Raise your hand if you know you can make a difference for Iowa's wildlife on the state tax form. There should be at least 7,800 of you with your hands in the air. That's how many folks donated a bit or all of their state tax refund to the Fish and Wildlife Fund affectionately called the Chickadee Check-off - on 2016 tax returns, translating to $147,000 in support of wildlife conservation in Iowa.

That's great but at its high point, over 16,000 people donated the first year raising approximately $200,000.

It was way back in 1981 that the Iowa legislature had introduced something new that had been named the Chickadee Check-off. It doesn't seem like it could be that long ago but I say those words often anymore. It was the first and only check-off until 2001.

Since the 1980s, thousands of Iowans have supported Iowa wildlife by making donations when they prepare their taxes. Today, 100 percent of those dollars go to the state's Wildlife Diversity Program, which protects nongame and vulnerable species through habitat development, data collection and research, education and much more.

Donating is easy. Simply enter your donation amount in the Fish and Wildlife Check-Off contribution line (usually between lines 55-59 on form 1040), and the sum is either automatically deducted from your refund or added to the amount owed. As with all charitable contributions, these dollars are deductible from next year's taxes. Don't forget to talk to your tax preparer if you have your taxes done professionally many tax preparers forget to mention donation opportunities.

You can learn more about the program on the website: I would encourage you to consider donating to the Chickadee Check-off this tax season and supporting wildlife conservation in Iowa! In addition, there is a great brochure available that explains and gives information about the program. It's available for download at the DNR website:

If every Iowa taxpayer donated just $1 on the Fish and Wildlife Check-off, it would mean $1.5 million for natural resource conservation! So, if you're able, take a moment this tax season to get a little wild and consider making a donation. The 1000+ species of birds, butterflies, mammals, frogs, toads, turtles and dragonflies that call Iowa home will thank you.



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