Volunteer firefighters respond to emergencies and train like normal firefighters, and its participants may receive several federal and state tax incentives. Volunteer firemen usually work another full-time job and combat fires and attend firefighter training during their spare time. Most of the tax incentives for volunteer firefighters are charitable deductions or a state tax credit.
As a volunteer firefighter, you can deduct any expenses incurred during service, such as buying your own equipment or mileage, as a charitable contribution on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Schedule A. The IRS standard mileage rate for charitable activities is 14 cents per mile.
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You may have to ask your accountant or volunteer firefighter association about state tax benefits. Some states, such as New York and Iowa, offer a tax credit to those that become volunteer firefighters.
NY Tax Credit
If you are a full-year New York resident and an active volunteer firefighter or ambulance worker for the entire year, a tax credit is available to you by completing New York tax form IT-245 (see References). The amount of the tax credit is $200 per person.
Iowa Tax Credit
Beginning in 2013, Iowa offers a maximum tax credit of $50 to volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services personnel.