MHC&S at the Des Moines Corporate Games

September 19, 2017 § Leave a comment

Track & FieldThis summer our firm participated in the Des Moines Corporate Games.  The Des Moines Corporate Games is a company based competition that started June 1st and ended July 31st, that enables and supports teamwork, company pride and corporate wellness through health competition.  Employers are split into three divisions:  Large, Medium and Small. The division you fall into is based on the number employees at your company.  2017 was the second year for the Des Moines Corporate Games and McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith P.C.’s first year participating in the games.

Basketball ShootingThere were 26 events this year, including Zumba, yoga, dodge ball and kickball tournaments, cross country race and track and field events.  I’m proud to report that we participated in 23 out of the 26 events the Corporate Games offered.  For most of the summer, we were in close race for first place with Fidelity & Guaranty Life and through hard work and teamwork we were able to secure a first-place finish in the 2017 Des Moines Corporate Games.

Team Picture with MedalsWinners of the Des Moines Corporate Games were announced on August 18, 2017, on the Grand Concourse at the Iowa State Fair.  A group of our employees was there to receive our 1st place trophy, which is now proudly displayed in our reception area.  A great time was had by all who participated in the games, and it gave employees who do not typically work together the change to have interaction.  We are ready to defend our 1st place trophy in the 2018 Des Moines Corporate Games.

Team Pic 1For more information on the Des Moines Corporate Games, please visit their website at  Check out their Facebook page and Twitter account for pictures and tweets from the 2017 Des Moines Corporate Games.




Nicole Loux, CPA
Nicole Loux
Manager – McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith, P.C.

Back to School Tax Savings with the Iowa Tuition & Textbook Credit

September 6, 2017 § Leave a comment

The calendar change from August to September signals many things – the start of football season, the transition to fall and of course, the beginning of a new school year.  For the kids, going back to school means early bed times, early mornings, and homework.  For the parents, going back to school means shelling out money for school supplies, lunch money accounts, new clothes, fees for books and transportation, and admissions to school events and other extracurricular activities.  As a parent of a sophomore and an 8th grader, I know all too well that sending kids to school can get very expensive in a hurry.

While the demands for money for this or that never seem to stop once the school year starts, it is nice to know that the Iowa Tuition and Textbook Credit is available to provide a little kickback come tax filing time.  Iowa allows a credit for tuition and other school related fees for dependents attending Kindergarten through 12th grade at an accredited Iowa school.  The credit is limited to 25% of each dependent’s first $1,000 of qualifying expenses (maximum of $250 per dependent per year).  At first glance, you may not think it is worth the effort to identify any qualifying expenses, but the list of items included in the credit may surprise you.  The following is a partial list of some expenses that qualify and a few that do not to consider as you send the kids off to school.

SchoolQualifying Expenses

  • Tuition paid to an accredited private school (K-12)
  • Textbook fees and fees for other required instructional materials
  • Rental or purchase of “non-street” costumes for school plays; rental of prom dresses or tuxedos for school related functions and dances; Uniforms for band or school athletic teams – including football or soccer cleats or other footwear not suitable for everyday wear
  • Drivers education classes if paid to the K-12 school
  • Dependent’s fees for admissions to school related activities, athletic events, dances
  • Parking fees paid to the school
  • Rental of musical instrument for school band

Non-qualifying Expenses

  • Expenses for textbooks or other items for home schooling or schooling outside an accredited school
  • School lunches
  • Tutoring not paid to a school
  • Yearbooks
  • Purchase of prom dresses and tuxedos; Purchase of clothes that can be worn outside of the related school function (basketball shoes, t-shirts for extracurricular activities)
  • Drivers education classes paid to a third-party provider (Street Smarts, Drive Tek)
  • Purchase of musical instruments
  • Registration fees, uniforms, shoes and admissions related to non-school sponsored athletic teams, dance or music classes, and events (league sports, private dance or music lessons)

As you can see, it really doesn’t take long for the qualifying expenses to add up in a hurry and can provide for a nice credit on your Iowa return. As always, ask your MHC&S tax professional if you have questions on what may or may not qualify.

A full list of qualifying/non-qualifying items can be found here: Iowa Tuition and Textbook Credit

Brian Newton, CPA
Brian Newton
Partner – McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith, P.C.

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