New legislation has been introduced in the Senate that aims to support volunteer firefighters and EMTs with expenses they incur as part of the public service they provide their communities.
Senate Bill 3224 creates a $500 tax credit that qualifying volunteer firefighters and EMTs can claim when they file their Illinois income taxes. Because it is a credit and not a deduction, it will provide a direct reduction in the amount of taxes owed, and could potentially increase their tax refunds.
Supporters of the measure note that volunteer firefighters and EMTs put their lives on the line to serve their communities. However, as volunteers, they often have to pay out of pocket for the costs of training as well as some equipment.
This legislation would help volunteer firefighters and EMTs pay for expenses that often include things such as medical and fire equipment, training, licensure, and even insurance. Supporters hope that by reducing the financial burden of volunteering, the legislation can help local fire departments to recruit new volunteers to bolster their efforts at protecting the public.