Volunteer firefighters are eligible for a tax credit

This year has already seen a higher number of wildfires than usual, with fires burning in nearly every province and territory in Canada. It’s concerning, and the resulting smoke that’s blanketed populous cities and towns has made the situation even more unsettling.

Thankfully, firefighters and first responders have been on the scene, bringing fires under control and assisting those who have been evacuated. Did you know that a tax credit is available to individuals who are volunteer firefighters in their communities?

These volunteers play a vital role, contributing significantly to the well-being and safety of their neighbours. They undergo considerable training to enable them to react efficiently in crisis situations. Because they typically live within the communities they serve, their proximity allows them to respond quickly, and they’re often the first to reach the scene of an emergency.

If you’re a volunteer firefighter, thank you for your service! At MMT Chartered Professional Accountants, taxation is one of our areas of specialty, and we want to ensure that all volunteer firefighters are aware of the tax credit available to them. Keep reading to find out how you can take advantage of it on your next tax filing.

Volunteer firefighters’ amount (VFA)

Among the many tax claims available to eligible Canadians, the Government of Canada offers a $3000 tax deduction to volunteer firefighters and volunteer search and rescue personnel. 

This amount is available to volunteers who have accumulated 200 hours of eligible volunteer service in any given tax year, either in the capacity as a volunteer firefighter or in search and rescue operations. Volunteers must be associated with an eligible organization. If hours are related to a place of employment, they do not count towards this total.

Eligible activities include being on call, responding to emergency calls, and participating in training or meetings related to volunteer duties. Be prepared to provide supporting documents to the Canada Revenue Agency upon request.

New momentum

While the current claim amount for eligible volunteer firefighters and search and rescue personnel is $3000, amounting to savings of about $450 per individual, there’s some momentum to increase it. 

A recent CBC article reported that an amount of $10,000 has been proposed, largely to help offset some of the costs associated with being a volunteer in this capacity. Whether it’s taking time off work to respond to a call, investing in appropriate safety wear, or keeping a vehicle topped up with gas in order to travel to emergency scenes, there are often significant personal costs associated with being a volunteer firefighter.

Tax changes like this are our specialty, so consult with us directly to make sure you’re among the first to hear about any changes to this claim amount.

Professional advice

At MMT Chartered Professional Accountants, we appreciate the sacrifices made by volunteers across this country, and we want to ensure they access any tax benefits to which they’re entitled.

Hiring an accountant is a strategic move to maximize your ability to take advantage of various tax credits, including the VFA. Tax laws and regulations are complex and ever-changing, making it challenging for individuals to navigate their intricacies. 

Our experienced tax accountants have in-depth knowledge of tax legislation and stay up-to-date with the latest changes. We can help you identify and capitalize on any tax credits applicable to your circumstances, so you don’t miss out on any potential opportunities to reduce your tax burden. 

If you’re a volunteer firefighter, know that you’re an invaluable asset to society, especially now as we face the threat of increasing wildfire activity. Your emergency response capabilities, community protection efforts, and spirit of service contribute significantly to the safety and resiliency of your communities.

Don’t miss out on accessing tax benefits to which you’re entitled. By working with our professional tax accountants, you can be confident that you’re optimizing your tax position and making the most of the credits available to you, ultimately minimizing your tax liability and increasing your potential refunds. Find out how we can help today.

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