<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Iowa Department of Revenue electronic newsletter: Iowa Tax eNews
graphic for Iowa Department of Revenue Tax eNews electronic newsletter
December 2011 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In This Issue


Expanded Instructions for 2011 IA 1040 now available online

Our 2011 IA 1040 Expanded Instructions are now posted online; please see our individual income tax forms page. Be sure to read What's New. The 2011 printer-friendly PDF version is also coming soon.

Taxpayer Service hours extended

To better serve our customers, the Department will expand telephone and e-mail customer service hours during the month of January. During January, our Taxpayer Service Section will assist customers by phone and e-mail from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Walk-in customers will continue to be served 8:00 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. 

Phone: 515-281-3114 or 1-800-367-3388 (Iowa, Omaha, Rock Island, Moline)

E-mail: idr@iowa.gov

NOTE:  We will resume our normal 8:00 am to 4:30 pm schedule beginning February 1, 2012.

End-of-year reminders for withholding filers

With the end of the year approaching, you will want to file your Iowa Verified Summary of Payments Report (VSP) through eFile & Pay. The VSP must be filed by February 29, 2012.

Iowa does not require you to send in copies of the W-2s or 1099s. Employers are, however, required to keep copies for four years.

The federal government requires employers to provide W-2s and 1099s to employees no later than January 31, 2012, for tax year 2011. W-2s and 1099s are federal forms and can be obtained through the IRS Web site, or by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676, or by purchasing them through an office supply company.

The Iowa withholding tax tables will NOT change for 2012. Please continue to use the current tables, which became effective April 1, 2006.

The Iowa W-4 for 2011 (pdf) is now online.

Snow removal not subject to Iowa sales tax

Snow removal is not subject to Iowa sales tax.

The service of applying sand, salt, or ice-melt is likewise not taxable.

However, the materials applied – sand, salt, ice-melt – are taxable products. Sales tax is due on these materials.

  • When the snow removal business applies these materials for their customer and does not make a separately itemized charge for them, that business is the consumer of the materials and owes sales tax to their supplier when they are purchased. No tax is charged to the snow removal business’ customer for services or materials.
  • In some cases, the snow removal business may separately itemize charges to their customer for the materials. If so, the business may be able to purchase the materials for resale and not pay sales tax to their supplier when three conditions are met.

    1. They and their customer must agree that the product is being sold separately from the service, and

    2. The product must be sold to the customer in a definite form or amount and with a specific price attached, and

    3. The cost of the product must be itemized on the bill.

When purchasing products for resale, a valid Sales Tax Exemption Certificate (pdf) will be provided by the snow removal business to the supplier who sells them the materials. In this situation, the snow removal business must charge sales tax to their customer on the materials, but not on the services.

Rent Reimbursement claim forms to be mailed in January

The 2011 Rent Reimbursement Claims will be mailed during the first week of January to those individuals who filed a 2010 form.  The forms sent in this mass mailing will be pre-printed with the claimant's name, address and other important information.  It is to the claimant's benefit to use the pre-printed form whenever possible as the information contained on it speeds processing.

Blank 2011 Rent Reimbursement Claims (not pre-printed) will be available on our Web site January 17.  On that date, they will also be available at the Taxpayer Services office located on the fourth floor of the Hoover State Office Building in Des Moines.  

The Department is also looking for volunteers interested in assisting elderly and disabled individuals to file Iowa Rent Reimbursement Claims during January 2012.  Please contact us if you or someone you know may be interested.

The Rent Reimbursement program is available to Iowa residents whose total household income is less than $20,906 and one of the following applies:

  • 65 years of age or older by December 31, 2011, or
  • Totally disabled and 18 years of age or older by December 31, 2011.

In addition, the individual must be renting housing in a building subject to property tax.

Automatic mailing of income tax booklets eliminated for 2011

With the continued growth of electronic filing, the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR) will no longer automatically mail paper income tax forms and instruction booklets to individual taxpayers beginning with tax year 2011. This change is part of the IDR's focus on creating efficiencies through the increased use of technology. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and many other states have already taken this step.

Likewise, the IA 1040C (Composite Return) will not be automatically mailed to those who have received it in the past, but will continue to be available on our Web site.

We strongly encourage all taxpayers to file their returns electronically. eFiling is safe, easy, and refunds are issued in days instead of weeks. For 2010 information on how to file your tax return electronically, click here. (2011 information will be available in January 2012). You may even qualify to eFile for free!

For more information on filing electronically, see Individual Income Tax - Electronic Filing Options.

For more details on obtaining income tax forms and the discontinued mailing of the IA 1040 booklet, see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Barcoding program in place for 2011 forms

The IDR is pleased to announce it is implementing a barcoding program for tax year 2011. Returns filed on paper that are created using participating computer software vendors or printed from the IDR Web site, will contain a barcode to assist in processing those returns. Barcodes will appear in the upper right and lower left on page 1 of the IA1040, as well as the lower left on many other Iowa individual income tax forms and schedules.

When the Department receives your paper tax return with barcodes, an image of the return and the tax information is scanned directly into the tax system. This ensures your return is processed quickly and accurately, saving the Department time and money.

IDR will offer 2D Barcode in addition to electronic filing of individual income tax returns. eFiling continues to be the best customer option for a fast and easy refund!

Can you eFile for free?

  • Are you 25 or younger?
  • Are you 65 or older?
  • Are you in the military?
  • Do you qualify for earned income credit?

Find out at www.iowa.gov/tax!

File your federal & Iowa returns at the same time from links on our Web site.

Get your refund in days instead of weeks.
eFiling is fast, safe, and easy.