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Volunteer Firefighter and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Personnel and Reserve Peace Officer Tax Credit

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Line: 
45
Step: 
Step 9
Step Subject: 
Tax, Credits & Checkoff Contributions
Year: 
2016

Effective January 1, 2013 the Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Personnel Tax Credit was available for volunteer firefighters and volunteer EMS personnel. Effective January 1, 2014, the Reserve Peace Officer Tax Credit is available for volunteer reserve peace officers. In order to qualify for the credits the taxpayer must meet the conditions listed below.

Qualifying Conditions

For Volunteer Firefighters:

  • Must be an active member of an organized volunteer fire department in Iowa.
  • Must meet the minimum training standards established by the Fire Service Training  Bureau, a division of the Iowa Department of Public Health.
  • A paid firefighter who volunteers for another fire department is eligible for the credit, effective January 1, 2014.
  • A person who volunteers as a firefighter, for a fire department by which they are employed, is eligible for the credit if they are employed in a capacity other than as a firefighter.

For Volunteer Emergency Medical Services Personnel:

  • Must be trained to provide emergency medical care, certified as a first responder, and been issued a certificate by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
  • A paid EMS personnel member who volunteers for another department is eligible for the credit, effective January 1, 2013.
  • A person who volunteers as an EMS personnel member, for a department by which they are employed, is eligible for the credit if they are employed in a capacity other than as an EMS personnel member.

For Reserve Peace Officers:

  • Must be a volunteer, non-regular, sworn member of a law enforcement agency who serves with or without compensation, has regular police powers while functioning as a law enforcement agency’s representative, and participates on a regular basis in the law enforcement agency’s activities including crime prevention and control, preservation of the peace, and enforcement of the law.
  • Must have met the minimum training standards established by the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
  • A person who volunteers as a reserve peace officer, for a department by which they are employed, is eligible for the credit if they are employed in a capacity other than as a peace officer.

Amount of the Tax Credit

The tax credit equals $100 if the volunteer serves for the entire calendar year. If the volunteer does not serve the entire year, the $100 credit will be prorated based on the number of months that the volunteer served. If the volunteer served for a portion of a month, that will be considered as an entire month. The table below provides the qualifying amount of tax credit by months of service for the year.

Number of Months of Service

Amount of Tax Credit

Number of Months of Service

Amount of Tax Credit

1

$8

7

$58

2

$17

8

$67

3

$25

9

$75

4

$33

10

$83

5

$42

11

$92

6

$50

12

$100

If an individual serves in more than one position as a volunteer firefighter, volunteer EMS personnel, and reserve peace officer, the credit can only be claimed for one volunteer position. One credit can be claimed on the IA 1040.

Written Statement Requirements

Taxpayers claiming the tax credit are required to have a written statement from the fire chief, the chief of police, sheriff, commissioner of public safety, or other appropriate supervisor verifying that the individual was a volunteer for the number of months that are being claimed. These letters do not have to be included with a filed return, but must be produced by the taxpayer upon request by the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR). It is recommended that the statement contain the following information: Volunteer Name, Fire Department or EMS Service Name or Police Department, Number of Months of Service for the Year, Amount of Qualifying Credit, and the Name, Title, and Signature of the official authorizing the credit.

Recordkeeping Recommendations 

It is recommended that volunteer fire departments, EMS services, or police departments maintain a record of the letters that are authorized in the event that IDR requests a list of authorized credit recipients. It is recommended that these lists be kept for at least 10 years.

Married Separate Filers:

This credit must be taken by the spouse who qualifies. Any unused part of this credit cannot be used by the other spouse.

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