Iowa farmers who donate food are eligible for state tax credit

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey recenlty highlighted the Farm to Food Donation Tax Credit and encouraged eligible farmers to consider applying. Iowa farmers who donate self-produced food commodities to food banks and food pantries can now qualify for the credit on state taxes, which is equal to 15% of the value of the commodities donated during the tax year or $5,000 whichever is less.

 “Iowa farmers care deeply about their communities and this new tax credit program may provide some additional tax benefit to farmers who donate food to a food bank or food pantry,” Northey said.  “As we see more farmers raising fresh produce, this new tax credit program is something they should be aware of as they consider food donations.”

The program was created by the Iowa Legislature in 2013 and is effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

To qualify for the tax credit, producers:

• must produce the donated food commodity;

• must transfer title to the donated food commodity to an Iowa food bank or Iowa emergency feeding organization  registered with the Iowa Department of Revenue          (;

• shall not receive compensation for the transfer;

• shall not donate a food commodity that is damaged or unfit for human consumption;

• shall donate a food commodity that meets the requirements of the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program.

Producers will receive an authorized receipt from the Registered Iowa Food Bank or Iowa emergency feeding organization for the donation.  All authorized receipts for a calendar year should be sent together to the Iowa Department of Revenue by January 15th. The Department will issue the producer a tax credit certificate which must be included with the producer’s tax return.

Tax credits are not refundable, but can be credited ahead to the tax liability for the following five years. The value of the food commodity is self-assessed but must be determined in the same manner as a charitable contribution of food for federal tax purposes. Donation evaluation worksheets are available on at

More information and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at