1. #1
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    Diane E's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Plan to aid firefighters

    Plan to aid firefighters

    BY JOSEPH MALLIA
    STAFF WRITER

    April 1, 2005

    A $1,000 federal income tax credit for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers proposed by New York's senior senator would really help Mary Beth Kraese and her kin.

    "There's Mom, Dad, Fred, me, Phillip and Jimmy," Kraese said yesterday, referring to her brother, her husband and her brother-in-law, as well as her parents and herself, all Huntington Manor Fire Department volunteers.

    She and about 100 others from Montauk to Roslyn heard a speech by Sen. Charles Schumer at the East Farmingdale firehouse yesterday.

    He said firehouses get fewer volunteers because of financial and time constraints on two-income families.

    "If anything signifies the volunteer spirit of America ... it is our volunteer fire departments," Schumer said. "I am introducing this bill when I get back to Washington, D.C., on Monday. ... We are going to pass this act."

    In an interview after his speech, Schumer said he is optimistic, even as a Democrat in a Republican-controlled Congress, that he'll get passage of the bill, which he estimated would cost the federal government about $500 million a year in lost tax revenue.

    Schumer's measure, S.625, is modeled on one introduced as H.R. 934 on Feb. 17 by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-Saugerties) with eight co-sponsors. It needs approval by both houses of Congress and President George W. Bush.

    Though Schumer said in his speech yesterday that he plans to introduce the bill next week, Senate records show he introduced S.625 on March 15 with no co-sponsors. It was referred to the Finance Committee.

    "We will get bipartisan co-sponsors," Schumer said in the interview. "I'm going to try to put it in the next tax bill."

    Schumer explained his mistake, saying his staff had originally planned to file the bill after the congressional break, but then filed it just before the break. "The bill was dropped in the day before we left the session. That's why there are no co-sponsors," Schumer said. "I'm serious about this bill."

    Kraese said she hoped Schumer wasn't just seeking a photo opportunity yesterday.

    "You put heart and soul and take a lot of time away from your family," she said, praising Schumer's initiative. "I think it's an amazing thing. It would really help. I want him to be serious."

    www.newsday.com
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

  2. #2
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    The contents of this bill should be amended to include the word "active" in front of volunteer, and should require that the persons applying for the tax credit be on the FD for at least a year with proof of participation each year to maintain the credit.

    I can see a "rush of applications" just so people can take advantage and save a grand...
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    I agree with Gonzo, but overall I say it is a good thing.
    The opinions I post to these forums do not represent any entity to which I am affiliated.

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    Agree with the Captain....I'm also not going to hold my breath.

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    I didn't want to bore you with the details, but it seems I will have to (this is the House version):

    A BILL
    To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a $1,000 refundable credit for individuals who are bona fide volunteer members of volunteer firefighting and emergency medical service organizations.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Supporting Emergency Responders Volunteer Efforts Act of 2005' or the `SERVE Act of 2005'.

    SEC. 2. REFUNDABLE CREDIT FOR BONA FIDE VOLUNTEER MEMBERS OF VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTING AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS.

    (a) In General- Subpart C of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to refundable credits) is amended by redesignating section 36 as section 37 and by inserting after section 35 the following new section:

    `SEC. 36. BONA FIDE VOLUNTEER MEMBERS OF VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTING AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS.

    `(a) In General- In the case of an individual who at any time during the taxable year is a bona fide volunteer member of a qualified volunteer fire department, there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this subtitle the amount of $1,000.

    `(b) Part-Year Active Members- In the case of an individual who is a bona fide volunteer member of a qualified volunteer fire department for only a portion of a taxable year, the amount of the credit under subsection (a) for such taxable year shall be an amount which bears the same ratio to $1,000 as such portion bears to the entire taxable year.

    `(c) Definitions- For purposes of this section--

    `(1) BONA FIDE VOLUNTEER MEMBER OF A QUALIFIED VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT-

    `(A) IN GENERAL- An individual shall be treated as a bona fide volunteer of a qualified volunteer fire department for purposes of this section if--

    `(i) the only compensation received by such individual for performing qualified services is in the form of--

    `(I) reimbursement for (or a reasonable allowance for) reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of such services, or

    `(II) reasonable benefits (including length of service awards), and nominal fees for such services, customarily paid by eligible employers in connection with the performance of such services by volunteers, and

    `(ii) the aggregate amount of such compensation for the taxable year for providing qualified services does not exceed an amount equal to the annual limitation.

    `(B) ANNUAL LIMITATION- For purposes of subparagraph (A), the annual limitation is an amount equal to the product of--

    `(i) the minimum wage in effect under section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206(a)(1)) on the first day of the calendar year beginning in the taxable year, multiplied by

    `(ii) 2,080 hours.

    `(2) QUALIFIED SERVICES- For purposes of this paragraph, the term `qualified services' means fire fighting and prevention services, emergency medical services, and ambulance services.

    `(3) QUALIFIED VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT- The term `qualified volunteer fire department' has the meaning given such term by section 150(e).'.

    (b) Conforming Amendments-

    (1) Paragraph (2) of section 1324(b) of title 31, United States Code, is amended by inserting `or 36' after `section 35'.

    (2) The table of sections for subpart C of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by redesignating the item relating to section 36 as an item relating to section 37 and by inserting before the item relating to section 37 the following new item:

    `Sec. 36. Bona fide volunteer members of volunteer firefighting and emergency medical service organizations.'.

    (c) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

  6. #6
    medic123
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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
    The contents of this bill should be amended to include the word "active" in front of volunteer, and should require that the persons applying for the tax credit be on the FD for at least a year with proof of participation each year to maintain the credit.

    I can see a "rush of applications" just so people can take advantage and save a grand...
    Well said, I agree 100%

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    Would be nice, but I'm not gonna hold my breath...

    Oh...wait a minute...if I receive some financial benefit from volunteering, i.e. a tax break, then technically I'm no longer a volunteer, I'm a paid firefighter. Or so some here would have us believe....

    No, I'm not going down that road again.....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Hate to be the contrarian, but I think a 'rush' of applications would be a good thing.

    Might have to ramp-up the membership committee (or whatever your company calls it), or check your by-laws to make sure you can toss probies that don't work out, but after the weeding process, you will end up with a few more good firefighters.

    Might also give a new 'spark' to the folks who've been getting tired of running after 25 plus years. All those new probies NEED someone to follow and learn from.

    OR - since we all know there's more to running the firehouse than just riding the trucks, you might find the "perfect" administrative type, or someone to grind-out the NIFRS reports, or Fire Police, etc.

    Yeah, you might have to weed a few out. But think like the kid who got a load of horse manure for christmas....and started to weed thru, because they're sure there's gotta be a pony somewhere...

    Jon

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