Iowa State Tax Help

Why am I being asked if I'm a retired government employee?

If you and/or your spouse is a state or local government employee who retired after December 31, 1994, your and/or your spouse's taxable pensions and annuities on your Iowa return may be different than on your federal return. In these cases, see the 1099-R issued by IPERS (Iowa Public Employees Retirement System), and enter the correct taxable amount on the screen that will show up only if you answer "Yes" to you and/or your spouse being a retired government employee.

What if I am a retired state or local government employee?

If the amount listed in the question matches you or your spouse's IPERS 1099-R, you may either enter nothing on this screen, or you may re-enter the amount.

If the amount listed does NOT match your or your spouse's IPERS 1099-R, enter the taxable amount of pensions and annuities listed on the 1099-R.

If you expect to receive an IPERS 1099-R, but have not yet, contact the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System at 515-281-0020 or 1-800-622-3849.

What expenses qualify for the Early Childhood Development Credit?

Expenses that qualify include the following:
  • Services provided by a preschool, as defined in Code Section 237A.1
  • Books that improve child development, such as textbooks, music and art books, teacher's editions, and reading books
  • Instructional materials required to be used in a lesson activity, such as paper, notebooks, pencils, and art supplies
  • Lesson plans and curricula
  • Child development and educational activities outside the home, such as drama, art, music, and museum activities, and the entrance fees for such activities
Early childhood development expenses that do NOT qualify include:
  • Food, lodging, or membership fees relating to child development and educational activities outside the home
  • Services, materials, or activities for the teaching of religious tenets, doctrines, or worship, if the purpose of these expenses is to instill those tenets, doctrines, or worship

How will contributions to the Veterans and Firefighters Fund be used?

Contributions to the Veterans Fund assists veterans with job training, expenses related to facility or at-home care, individual or family counseling, and other services.

Contributions to the Firefighters Fund will be used to train Iowa's firefighters. The money is used to offset the financial burdens with which many fire departments deal when it comes to ensuring their firefighters are adequately trained in all facets of emergency response.

Contributions to the joint Firefighters/Veterans Fund will be split evenly between the two funds.

What if I paid taxes to another state or country?

All income an Iowa resident earns is taxable to Iowa to the same extent that it is taxable on the federal return even if the income was earned in another state or foreign country. If another state or foreign country taxes that same income, then the Iowa resident may be able to claim a credit for taxes paid to another jurisdiction. This is to avoid any double taxation of the same income.

How will contributions to the Child Abuse Prevention Fund be used?

Proceeds will go to support the Iowa Child Abuse Prevention Program, which funds crisis and respite child care, parent education, child sexual abuse prevention programs, and young parent support.

What if I don't know my school district?

If you don't know your school district name, you can find it listed on your voter registration card. The applicable school district is the one in which you resided on the last day of the tax year, not necessarily the district where your children attend school. Even if you don't have children, you must select a school district name. You may look up your school district here  by county.

What qualifies for the Health and Dental Insurance Deduction?

You can enter ALL of your health and dental insurance premiums so long as they weren't withheld on a pre-tax basis. This includes all supplemental health insurance, such as Medicare B supplemental medical insurance, Medicare D voluntary prescription drug insurance, and long-term nursing home coverage premiums. Do NOT include any "Medicare Tax Withheld" on your W-2 Forms (W2).

Note that the deduction is NOT available to any individual who paid these health insurance premiums on a pre-tax basis. Pre-tax means to subtract such things as health insurance premiums from your gross wages before withholding taxes are computed. See your payroll department regarding pre-tax information.

What is the Disability Income Exclusion?

You may exclude from your Iowa tax a portion of the disability pay you received in 2014 if you meet ALL of the following conditions:
  • You received disability pay.
  • You were not yet 65 when your tax year ended.
  • You retired on disability and were totally and permanently disabled when you retired.
  • On January 1, 2014, you had not yet reached the age when your employer's retirement program would have required you to retire.
  • If you took the exclusion in a prior year and you didn't elect to treat disability income as a pension for federal purposes.
  • If you were married at the end of the tax year and filed a joint federal income tax return for the year unless you didn't live with your spouse at any time during the year.
To determine the amount of disability to exclude, complete Form IA 2440  . Form IA 2440 includes a doctor's statement attesting to the taxpayer's complete and permanent disability that must be signed by a physician. If you e-file your Iowa return, keep Form IA 2440 for your records. Form IA 2440 only needs to be sent to the Iowa Department of Revenue if they request it. If you are unable to successfully e-file your Iowa return, then attach Form IA 2440 to your printed Iowa return and mail it to the Iowa Department of Revenue.

What is the College Savings Iowa or Iowa Advisor 529 Plan?

If you or your spouse participate in the College Savings Iowa or Iowa Advisor 529 Plan, each may deduct an amount contributed no more than $3,098 per beneficiary. Please note that rollover contributions from other states' Section 529 savings plans do qualify for the annual deduction and are subject to the annual maximum contribution limit.

Do I qualify for the Retirement Exclusion?

If you or your spouse receive a pension, annuity, self-employed retirement plan, deferred compensation, IRA distribution, or other retirement plan benefits, you may be eligible to exclude a portion of the taxable retirement income from Iowa income tax. Distributions on Roth IRAs are exempt from income tax. Social Security benefits and military retirement pay are not included.

For filing status Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately on a Combined Return, or Married Filing Separately, the exclusion is the lesser of $12,000 or the taxable amount of the retirement income. For filing status Single, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow(er), the exclusion is the lesser of $6,000 or the taxable amount of your retirement income. To take this exclusion each spouse must determine their eligibility independent of the other and the pensioner or retirement income recipient must meet one of the following conditions:
  • You were 55 years of age or older on December 31, 2014.
  • You are disabled.
  • You are a surviving spouse or a survivor having an insurable interest in an individual who would have qualified for the exclusion in 2014 on the basis of age or disability.
A survivor other than the surviving spouse is considered to have an "insurable interest" if the survivor is a son, daughter, mother, or father of the annuitant or pensioner.

Married Filing Separately Filers: If both spouses have pension income and meet the eligibility requirements, the exclusion of up to $12,000 is prorated between each spouse. The prorated ratio relates each spouse's pension to the total pension received by both spouses. If only one spouse has pension income and meets the eligibility requirements, that spouse takes the entire exclusion of up to $12,000. The spouse who has no pension income receives no exclusion.

What do I include for the federal income tax refund received in 2014?

Include the following:
  • The refund you received from your 2013 federal tax return. If you need to determine the amount of last year's federal income tax refund, which must be reported on this year's Iowa return, please contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-829-1040.
  • Any refunds received in 2014 for other years that were amended or filed late
  • Any portion of the federal refund received due to the Fuel Tax Credit from federal Form 4136
  • The amount of any federal First-time Homebuyer Credit repayment

If you chose to have any part of an overpayment of federal income tax credited to estimated tax payments for 2014, the amount will be reported as federal estimated tax payments made in 2014 on your Iowa Income Tax Return. However, you must also enter the total federal overpayment here.

Do not include the federal refund in the following situations:
  • Do not include any part of the refund received from Earned Income Credit, Additional Child Tax Credit, First-Time Homebuyer Credit, Refundable Education Credit, or Refundable Adoption Tax Credit .
  • You are filing a 2014 Iowa return for the first time because you moved into Iowa during the year. A refund of federal tax received in 2014 is not reported if the tax was not deducted from Iowa income in a prior year.
  • The refund you received was from a year in which you did not take a deduction for the payment of federal tax because your income was less than the minimum amount for paying Iowa tax or your tax for that year was calculated using the alternate tax computation.
  • You were a nonresident for the tax year of the refund and were not required to file an Iowa return for that year.

Married Filing Separately Filers:
If the refund received in 2014 was from a jointly filed federal return, it must be divided between the spouses in the ratio of the spouses' net incomes in the year for which the refund was issued. NOTE: For purposes of reporting to Iowa, the refund must be prorated in this manner even if the refund itself was divided between spouses in some other way, either by mutual agreement or other requirement.

How can I claim the deduction for expenses incurred for the care of my disabled relative?

You may take a deduction for the expenses you incurred for the care of a disabled relative if all of the following are true:
  1. The disabled relative must be a grandchild, child, parent, or grandparent.
  2. The disabled relative must have been unable, by reason of physical or mental disability, to live independently.
  3. The disabled relative must be receiving or be eligible to receive Social Security benefits.

What expenses can I include for the adoption of my child?

You may include medical costs relating to the child's birth, any necessary fees, and all other costs connected with the adoption procedure. These expenses must be taken in the year you paid the expenses even if the child is not placed in your home during 2014 or if the adoption does not occur.

What is the mileage deduction for charitable purposes?

Iowa allows you an additional deduction for automobile mileage driven for charitable organizations. Calculate the deduction as follows:
  • Multiply the number of miles x 39 (cents)/mile.
  • Subtract the charitable mileage deduction entered previously in the federal portion.
  • The result is your additional mileage deduction for charitable purposes.

How will contributions to the Fish and Wildlife Fund be used?

Contributions to this fund are the primary support for Iowa's Wildlife Diversity Program. This program monitors, researches, and manages the state's non-game species of wildlife. According to the Natural Resource Commission policy, 100% of the money donated to this program goes to the Wildlife Diversity Program.

How will contributions to the State Fair Fund be used?

Contributions to this fund will be added to other sources such as gifts, donations, and bequests to be used by the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation to fund capital projects and improvements to property on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

What are estimated tax payments?

Enter any estimated tax payments you made for 2014 (This includes any fourth quarter payments made in January 2015 and any payments made with Form IA 1040V Payment Voucher for tax year 2014.)

Enter any overpayment from your 2013 Iowa income tax return that you applied to your estimated tax for 2014.

Do NOT enter any amount of your 2014 Iowa income tax withheld by your employer(s) as shown on any wage or tax statements.

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