Northwest Iowa — Fewer Iowans, including people here in northwest Iowa, are contributing to the State’s “Chickadee Checkoff” on their state income tax forms. Last year in Iowa, only about one half of one percent of taxpayers chose to mark a tax form checkoff and donate to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Fund.
Stephanie Shepherd, wildlife diversity biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the decline in contributors followed four consecutive years of growth.
Iowans donated roughly $132,000 last spring when completing their 2014 tax forms. That marks a three-percent decline from 2013 returns but still represents a nearly 19-percent increase compared to the low point of the fund in 2009. Shepherd warns tax payers who want to contribute to “be alert,” as it’s one of the last items on the form. She notes it can easily be overlooked when working with a tax preparer.
Donations to all the state tax form checkoffs were down on 2014 returns. Donations to the Fish and Wildlife Fund, also known as the “Chickadee Checkoff,” go directly to research and habitat development for some of Iowa’s most vulnerable animal species. The checkoff was created by state lawmakers in 1981. At its height, Iowans donated more than $200,000 annually to the fund.