Iowa farmers and gardeners harvesting a bumper crop of produce can now get a tax credit when they make a donation to their local food bank.
The Farm to Food Donation tax credit was approved by the state legislature as a way to boost supplies at food banks and pantries. Iowa Department of Revenue spokesperson Kay Arvidson explains how it works, “ this is a tax credit that allows you to take a credit of 15 percent of the food for a maximum of five thousand dollars.” Arvidson says in order to receive the credit, however, a producer must donate the commodities to a registered organization, “ the food banks register with the department of revenue so there is an identification process, then the donation is made, documentation is provided from the food bank and then there is a tax form that goes along with your tax form and the tax credit.”
One of the largest recipients of donated products is the Food Bank of Iowa which serves 55 counties across the state along with mobile pantries in the summer months. Nathan Crozier is a food sourcing specialist with the food bank. He says “ we increased our distribution last year over 19 percent , the interesting thing about this tax credit is this can be from a farmer with an orchard or a garden or a several acre farm.”
And it isn’t just produce that qualifies, honey and meat is also accepted.
Because the tax credit is new, some producers may not beware of it, so Revenue Department spokesperson Kay Ardvison points out another reason why producers may consider it. She says “another interesting this about this is let’s say you owe three thousand dollars worth of taxes and you donated five thousand dollars worth of food, the difference is two thousand dollars and you can carry that forward to another tax return over the course of five years.”
Arvidson directs anyone with questions to the department’s website. “ There’s a lot of information at http://iowa.tax.gov. " you can look under the individuals area under farm to food donation, you can look under the business section, you can find it under the statistics section or you can just search at the top of the page as well.”
The Food Bank of Iowa’s Nathan Crozier says even without the tax credit, those who make use of the land for food are often more than happy to give to others, “ we see that all the time it’s great to gardeners come in with their peppers and tomatoes and the joy to share that with other people.”