QUESTION: My husband is a volunteer firefighter and he mentioned something about a tax rebate this year. We don’t really know any of the details, but we would like to take advantage of this if we are eligible. Can you help?
ANSWER: I’m glad you asked this; I’d be happy to help. But first, I’d like to thank your husband for the important work he performs as a volunteer firefighter. And, knowing that spouses of volunteer firefighters also sacrifice in many ways, I’d like to thank you as well for supporting your husband.
Under newly enacted legislation, active volunteer emergency responders are eligible for a tax credit worth up to $100.
Act 66 of 2008, formerly House Bill 377, provides a credit of up to $100 against the state personal income tax liability of residents who are active with a volunteer ambulance service or volunteer fire or rescue company. A point system will be established to set annual requirements for certification of active volunteers.
Eligibility for the new tax incentives will be based upon how active an individual is within his or her company and is open to volunteer firefighters, rescue and emergency medical personnel. The specific eligibility details are still being discussed, however, it has been indicated that a point system will be used to consider the level of involvement as an emergency responder.
Volunteer emergency responders’ services collectively save the Commonwealth more than $6 billion each and every year. With more and more people being forced to maintain second jobs, it comes as no surprise that the number volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel have fallen dramatically in the last 30 years.
Between 1974 and 2005, the number of firefighters has fallen from a comfortable 300,000 to just 72,000.
Following its enactment, the legislation immediately took effect and volunteers are now able to use the credit as part of their 2008 state income tax returns.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about this or another state-government related issue, please contact me or my district office staff. We are here to help you.
If you have a question you would like me to address in an upcoming column, please send it to:
Rep. Curt Sonney
Room 149-B East Wing
P.O. Box 202004
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2004
Rep. Curt Sonney
Pennsylvania House of Representatives