SPRINGFIELD- Volunteer firefighters, who risk their lives for little to no pay, will soon have some help covering their expenses, thanks to a proposal backed by State Senator Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City). Senator Bennett has filed several bills to establish the credit. His proposal was included as part of a larger, bipartisan legislative package and was signed into law.
“This credit is designed to provide financial relief to our brave volunteers who risk their lives and spend significant time and personal resources on training and acquiring gear,” said Senator Bennett. “I know that this credit likely can’t cover the full amount of time and energy they have dedicated to the cause, but I hope this is a small step in showing the people of Illinois’s appreciation for their service.”
Senate Bill 1963 creates a Volunteer Emergency Worker $500 tax credit for individuals who earn less than $5,000 a year in stipends for their service to the fire department. This tax credit becomes available starting this tax year (2023) and can be collected when volunteer emergency worker files their taxes next spring.
During the spring legislative session, Senator Bennett banded together with other legislators and fire officials at the Capitol to commend the brave efforts of the volunteer firefighters who responded to the Interstate 55 pile-up and to continue their call for the passage of the tax credit proposal. They called for the credit, not only to help current volunteer firefighters, but to also assist departments in their recruitment efforts and help relieve the critical shortage of volunteer fire and EMS workers in Illinois.
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