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.
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.