The tax-exemption benefit is set to expire in 2021, which would harm volunteer retention and recruitment
On July 30, National Volunteer Fire Council chair Steve Hirsch formally requested that House and Senate leadership include a permanent extension of the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act in COVID-19 relief legislation that is currently under discussion.
VRIPA, which exempts property tax benefits and up to $600 per year in other types of incentives that volunteers receive from being subject to federal income tax, is active for the current tax year but is currently set to expire in 2021.
“Because of social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19, recruitment, training, and education of volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel is difficult or even impossible in many areas at the moment,” said Hirsch. “Meanwhile, many departments are experiencing higher-than-normal rates of staffing attrition due to volunteers being concerned about exposure and lacking adequate personal protective equipment. If VRIPA is allowed to expire, volunteers will have to start paying tax on nominal benefits, which reduces their incentive value. Higher taxes and more administrative burdens are the last thing that volunteer emergency responders and agencies need right now.”
Ask your U.S. Representative and Senators to support inclusion of VRIPA in COVID-19 relief legislation. Click here to look up phone numbers for your Representative and Senators to call them, or use the NVFC’s Legislative Action Center to email your Representative and Senators to ask them to cosponsor VRIPA.