Earlier this week, Congress passed the SECURE Act (H.R. 1994) which contains a one-year restoration of the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act (H.R. 1241/S. 1210). This reauthorization is important because, if passed by the Senate, it would allow volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel to receive property tax-based incentives and up to $600 per year in other incentives without being considered taxable income. The IAFC is grateful for years of support from our champions on Capitol Hill including: Rep. John Larson (D-CT), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), and former Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA). Take a moment to see the passionate speech which Rep. John Larson gave in which he highlighted the importance of the SECURE Act’s protections for volunteer and combination fire departments.
Current policies in the federal tax code place a burden on fire departments by requiring that they issue W-2s to their volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel and pay employer taxes on the value of the incentives that their volunteer receive. The SECURE Act’s restoration of this tax protection for volunteer and combination fire departments will allow volunteers to continue receiving nominal incentives while also protecting both the fire departments and their volunteer personnel from overzealous enforcement actions by the Internal Revenue Service.
While the IAFC is grateful for the House’s passage of the SECURE Act, we still need your help! Fire and emergency service leaders are urged to contact their Senators and ask that they pass the SECURE Act (H.R. 1994) as soon as possible. Please take a moment to log onto the IAFC’s online legislative action center to contact your Senators (IAFC membership is not required to participate).
Evan Davis is the IAFC's government relations strategic manager and liaison to the EMS Section.