SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — A bill to help recruit volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel in Illinois has passed the state Senate.
Senate Bill 3027 offers an income tax credit to help attract these workers. A $500 tax credit would be available to volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel who are members of or work for a Fire Protection District fire department for nine months or more and receive no more than $10,000 $ for their volunteer services during the tax year.
Current laws do not provide for a tax credit. New York, Iowa and Maryland offer a similar credit.
“Many communities rely on volunteer firefighters when they are in crisis,” said State Sen. Christopher Belt (D-Swansea). “These Illinois Fire Departments are struggling with a shortage of firefighters and EMS personnel volunteers.”
The proposed tax credit could not reduce a taxpayer’s liability to less than zero, according to a press release. If the proposed credit was greater than the taxpayer’s obligation for the year, the excess would be applied over the next five tax years. The credit would be applied to the first tax year in which there is tax payable. Leaders said if there were credits for more than a year, the first credit would be applied first.
“Providing an incentive will encourage volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel to stay long term,” Belt said. “It is important that we fill this shortage to ensure that emergency responders have sufficient resources to respond quickly.
The bill is now headed to the State House for further consideration.
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