Back to School Supplies and the Iowa Tuition and Textbook Credit

NOTE: I wrote this post in 2012, so be aware of its age. The content of the post is still accurate, as this credit is still available in Iowa, with the same rules.


As you head out to shop for back-to-school supplies, make sure to keep your receipts because many Iowans will qualify for the Iowa “tuition and textbook credit.”

While its name implies that it’s only available for tuition and textbook expenses, it’s actually available for almost any required expenses paid directly to public schools for kids in kindergarten through 12th grade. (Private schools can also qualify — but only if the school doesn’t teach religious doctrines.)

Items that are on the “required items” list for your kid’s school qualify for the credit. So do fees like activity fees or prom tickets (but not prom dresses or tuxedos).

The purchase of sports or band uniforms and sports shoes qualifies for the credit, but only if the uniform or shoes cannot be worn “on the street.” So, football cleats qualify but basketball sneakers do not.

You can claim up to $1,000 per child, and the credit is 25% of those expenses (so the maximum credit is $250/child).