How to Become a Volunteer Firefighter

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 below to learn even more about volunteering.

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  • City of Sun Prairie. "Volunteer Firefighter Requirements." (Accessed 4/20/09).
  • Detling, Dave. "Firefighter tax credit proposal." Capital 9 News. 4/18/09. (Accessed 4/20/09).
  • Grafton Volunteer Fire Department. "Firefighter Job Description." 12/10/04. (Accessed 4/20/09).
  • Riverside County Fire Department. "Riverside County Volunteer Firefighters." (Accessed 4/20/09).
  • SCCFD. "Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter." (Accessed 4/20/09).
  • Senator Dinniman. "Tax Credit Applications Now Available for Volunteer Firefighters and First Responders." 1/15/09. (Accessed 4/20/09).
  • Volunteer FD. "How to Become a Volunteer Firefighter." (Accessed 4/20/09).