Ward: Volunteer Firefighters/EMS can file for $100 Income Tax Credit

Volunteer Responder Retention and Recruitment Tax Credit is based on service in 2008

Harrisburg– Volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel can apply for a state income tax credit under a law enacted last year by the General Assembly, state Sen. Kim Ward (R-39) said today.

Ward said the Volunteer Responder Retention and Recruitment Tax Credit is based on service in 2008, but if the entire credit cannot be used on a volunteer’s 2008 income tax return, it can be carried over for up to three years until the tax credit has been exhausted. Under the law, no one will receive more money back in the form of a tax refund than he/she paid in state income tax.

“This tax relief will help communities recruit and retain these dedicated citizens, who, through their volunteerism, save tax dollars in amounts well beyond the cost of this tax credit,” said Ward, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “I encourage volunteer responders in the 39th Senatorial District to look into the tax credit. It’s one way the community can show support for neighbors who sacrifice their time and safety to protect lives and property.”

The state established a points system by which fire, rescue and EMS volunteers can accumulate points necessary to be eligible for the tax credit. Responders can accumulate points through obtaining certifications, attending training courses and organizational meetings, through response rates, sleep-in and standby times, holding elected and/or appointed positions, lifetime membership, military leave, and other related administrative and support activities.

Responders must have earned a total of 50 points between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2008 to be eligible for the state income tax credit. Responders must have their primary volunteer company’s president or chief certify the points by signing the PA-40 Schedule OC-V tax form provided by the PA Department of Revenue.

The deadline to file state personal income tax returns for tax year 2008 is April 15, 2009. The PA-40 Schedule OC-V tax form is available on the state Department of Revenue’s website at www.revenue.state.pa.us. (Click on “Forms and Publications” on the left, then “2008,” and scroll down to PA-40 Schedule OC-V.)

Volunteer fire and rescue personnel with questions about the points system can call the State Fire Commissioner’s Office at 1-800-670-3473 or send an email to ra-fire@state.pa.us . Volunteer ambulance personnel who have questions about the points system should call the state Department of Health, Bureau of Medical Services, at (717) 787-8740 or visit www.health.state.pa.us/ems.

Contact:  Rob Ritson
(724) 600-7002