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How to Become a Volunteer Firefighter

Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit
Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit

Volunteer firefighters rarely receive pay of any kind, although some communities reimburse volunteers for the time they invest during their shifts [source: Volunteer FD]. Other fire departments may give their volunteers a limited amount of money for emergency response services [source: Riverside County Fire Department].

Despite the differences in the amount of financial incentives available to volunteer firefighters, tax credits are becoming a more common way to show the community's appreciation. In some states, volunteer firefighters that have worked the required number of hours can claim a tax credit on their tax returns. In order to claim a tax credit, a volunteer firefighter must fill out an application to determine eligibility for the tax credit. Then, that application form must be attached to the volunteer firefighter's state income tax form [source: Senator Dinniman].

Different states award volunteer firefighters varying levels of tax credit. At this time, not all states are able to provide tax credits, but others might provide a $100, $200 or $500 tax credit. Tax credits are in place as an incentive for volunteer firefighters. Supporters of tax credits for volunteer firefighters say that providing such an incentive is a good way to retain volunteers and lower taxes since fire departments won't need to hire as many career firefighters [source: Detling].

Regardless of payment, the service you provide by working as a volunteer firefighter is a rewarding and mutually beneficial experience for both you and your community. Check out the links on the next page to learn even more about volunteering.