The Pennsylvania Heroes Tax Credit will provide active members of volunteer fire companies and nonprofit emergency medical service agencies a $500 Earned Income Tax Credit on their PA State Income Taxes. Active volunteers who meet the service credit criteria established by the guidelines outlined would be eligible for the tax credit.
EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT
- Only residents of the Commonwealth who are active volunteers can apply for the tax credit. A nonresident option is not available.
- The active volunteers would apply for the credit when they file their earned income taxes and will provide documentation from the municipality that they are entitled to the tax credit.
WHO WOULD QUALIFY FOR THE TAX CREDIT?
A member of a volunteer fire company or a nonprofit emergency medical services agency. Members who are volunteer emergency responders would qualify, as well as volunteers who are members but serve in other roles, such as ladies auxiliary or administration. The commonwealth shall set criteria or participation levels for the different classes of membership.
HOW WILL THE VOLUNTEERS EARN TAX CREDIT?
Any member of a volunteer fire company or nonprofit emergency medical services agency who meets one of the following criteria:
- The volunteer must respond to 15% of all emergency calls for the year;
- Complete 200 hours in formal training and drills for a volunteer.
- Complete 364 hours of administrative and other support services, including, but not limited to: fundraising, providing facility or equipment maintenance, financial bookkeeping; and the involvement in other events or projects that aid the financial viability, emergency response, or operational readiness of a volunteer fire company or a nonprofit emergency medical services agency.
- Life Members of a volunteer fire company or nonprofit emergency medical services who make 25% of company meetings for the year.
- Social members are not eligible for the tax credit.
If a volunteer who is an emergency responder is injured during a response to an emergency response call and can no longer serve as an active volunteer because of the injury, he or she is entitled to receive the tax credit. The injured volunteer must submit documentation from a licensed physician and a letter from the municipality with the date of injury and call injured on with their taxes. An injured emergency responder may receive the tax credit for up to five consecutive tax years.
TRACKING SERVICE ACTIVITIES
The chief of a volunteer fire company and the supervisor of a nonprofit emergency medical services agency are responsible for logging service records of active volunteers to document the activities of each qualified volunteer for credit and the calculation of total credits earned for each volunteer in their organization. These records are subject to periodic review by the Fire Commissioner, the Auditor General, and the office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
An active volunteer who wants to take advantage of the tax credit must sign and submit an application for certification to their chief or supervisor, who will sign and attest that the active volunteer meets the qualifications of the program or can no longer serve due to an injury. The application is then submitted by the volunteer with their state income taxes. The chief or supervisor maintains an official tax credit register of all active volunteers that were issued tax credit certificates for a particular year and provides the list and any updates to the fire chief, EMS supervisor, and the tax officer (if applicable). The chief or supervisor shall maintain these records for seven years.