There’s Something Wild Lurking On Your Maine Tax Return
So you haven't finished your taxes yet, huh? Yeah, us either. No biggie, we still have PLENTY of time. When you do finally sit down to do you Maine income taxes, you'll see a question on whether you want to give to the Chickadee Check-Off. Before you blow by it to figure out how much you have to pay to our beloved state government, you may want to take a second and know why all these chickadees need their important check-offs.
According to our friends at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:
"Volunteer contributions to the Chickadee Checkoff on Maine's income tax form initially provided funding for non-game and endangered and threatened species in Maine. The department deposits checkoff contributions into the Maine Endangered and Non-game Wildlife Fund [ENWF] - a dedicated, interest-bearing account. In 1984, taxpayers contributed $115,794 to the Chickadee Checkoff; by 2009, contributions had plummeted 71% to $33,751."
So checking off for our chickadees is a great way to help our Maine Wildlife Programs. This is the kind of stuff I actually WANT my tax dollars to go to!
Maine has done a good job (with limited resources) to help its endangered wildlife. Some of the highlights from the past 30 years include (from the MDIFL):
- "Maine's Bald Eagle population has grown from 29 pairs in 1972 to more than 631 pairs today, and in 2009 was delisted from Maine's list of Endangered and Threatened Species.
- Piping Plovers have increased from seven pairs nesting on four beaches in 1983 to 44 pairs nesting at 25 sites in 2013, due largely to intensive management at nesting sites and the cooperation of private landowners and municipalities.
- Surveys for many Endangered and Threatened Species, and a number of Special Concern species, were conducted in several ecoregions around the state, thus significantly enhancing our knowledge of the status of many wildlife species and important habitats.
- Specific baseline surveys were initiated or completed for amphibians, reptiles, breeding birds, owls, shorebirds, nesting seabirds, harlequin ducks, purple sandpipers, great blue herons, dragonflies, damselflies, salt marsh birds, island-nesting wading birds, grassland birds, freshwater mussels, bats, black terns, Canada lynx, and wolves.
- Major research studies of spotted and Blanding's turtles, vernal pools, bald eagles, Atlantic puffins, Razorbills, Arctic terns, wood turtles, Tomah mayflies, harlequin ducks, New England cottontails, sharp-tailed sparrows, and black terns provided, and are providing, data critical to inform management decisions."
If you want to help and do the Chickadee Check-Off use Schedule CP. It's a separate form that is included in the 1040S-ME short form booklet and 1040ME long form booklet.