Fairfax, Va. – The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) today applauded bipartisan legislation that would protect incentives for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel from being considered taxable income by the IRS.
The Volunteer Incentive Protection Act (VRIPRA), S. 609, was introduced February 27 by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-M.E.).
The legislation would reauthorize an expired provision in the tax code which protected all property-tax based incentives and up to $360 in other incentives from being considered taxable income. Additionally, VRIPRA would increase the protections for non-property tax based incentives from $360 to $600 per year.
“Volunteer and combination fire departments face difficult challenges in recruiting and retaining firefighters and EMS personnel,” said IAFC President and Chairman of the Board G. Keith Bryant, fire chief, Oklahoma City Fire Department. “If enacted the provision will protect the nominal incentives volunteers receive from being taxed and losing their incentivizing power.”
Congressional action became necessary after the IRS took enforcement action against numerous fire departments for failing to complete withholding and W-2s for incentives including: t-shirts, free passes to local parks, and limited local property tax abatements.
The bill is supported by a number of other local government and fire service associations. The IAFC anticipates similar legislation will be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in the near future.
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more