Legislation-- House Bill 1683 (Warner-R-Fayette)-- authorizing local municipalities to enact earned income and property tax liability tax credits for active volunteers of a fire company or emergency medical service company was signed into law on Monday as Act 172 of 2016 and will take effect in 60 days.
“There is never enough praise that can be given to our first responders,” said Rep. Ryan Warner, prime sponsor of the bill. “This new law is one small way to say ‘thank you’ with more than just words to our volunteer fire departments and ambulance company personnel who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our loved ones, homes and businesses. Enacting these tax credits into law is the least our state can do to demonstrate our appreciation and to help ensure this essential emergency coverage continues.”
Act 172 grants municipalities the authority to offer active volunteers a tax credit of up to 20 percent of their tax liability based on the number of calls a volunteer responded to or their training or participation in the functions of the organization.
According to PA State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay, Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire companies save taxpayers between $8 billion and $10 billion annually. A study conducted by the PA Fire and Emergency Services Institute in 2001 found that volunteer fire service companies yielded about $6 billion in avoided costs to local governments.
“I believe it is absolutely critical, not only from a financial perspective, but for the safety of all Pennsylvanians, that we take tangible actions to support these volunteers and irreplaceable community organizations,” said Rep. Warner. “Volunteers are already donating their time; they shouldn’t have to donate their money, too. Moving forward, we need to do whatever we can to ease the financial burden they face, and provide the resources they need to do their jobs safely.”A House Fiscal Note and summary is available.