Volunteer emergency responder tax credit clarified

Lawmakers passed a bill April 26 intended to simplify administration of the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist17' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Joni Albrecht'>Sen. Joni Albrecht</a>
Sen. Joni Albrecht

The act provides a $250 refundable income tax credit for qualifying volunteers serving a county, city, village or rural or suburban fire protection district. A certification administrator at each volunteer department keeps a record of points awarded to members based on their activities. Members qualify for the credit if they accumulate enough points.

Under LB222, introduced by Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, the certification administrator will provide each volunteer member with notice of the total points he or she has accumulated during the first six months of the current calendar year no later than July 15 of each year.

The bill also requires the administrator to provide each volunteer member a written certification stating the total number of points accumulated by the member during the immediately preceding year and whether that member qualified as an active emergency responder, active rescue squad member or active volunteer firefighter for the year. The notification may be sent no later than Feb. 1 of each year.

LB222 clarifies that a volunteer member may claim the credit by including a copy of the certification with his or her state income tax return.

The bill requires the certification administrator to file a list of qualifying volunteer members with the state Department of Revenue and the governing body of the county, city, village, or rural or suburban fire protection district.

LB222 passed on a vote of 46-0.

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