We are all dreading the work that goes into finalizing paperwork and gathering information for taxes.
However, this year there is some reward for volunteer firefighters in our communities who meet the requirements of the new non-refundable tax credit.
Our men and women who risk it all while fighting a fire or responding to an accident can claim an amount of $3,000 if they meet the conditions, which include;
- Being a volunteer firefighter during the year.
- Completion of at least 200 hours of eligible volunteer firefighting services with one or more fire departments in the year.
Eligible services are determined as responding to and being on call for firefighting and related emergency calls as a firefighter, attending meetings held by the fire department and participating in required training related to the prevention or suppression of fire.
Personally, I pride myself on being a volunteer within the community. At the end of the day it feels great to know, even in the slightest amount, that you have helped to make a difference.
However, I would never compare my volunteer efforts to those of our amazing firefighters.
These men and women are among the highest standing in my books. I group firefighters with RCMP officers, paramedics/nurses and search and rescue officials.
This group, although seemingly small among our population, are there to protect us 24/7 and to provide assistance whenever called upon. It doesn't matter the time, the day or the weather - they are there, readily prepared to put their lives on the line to save yours.
Although, out of that group only firefighters are considered volunteers.
I don't know about you, but when I'm asked to go and sit on a board as a member or help plan a large event in the area, I don't risk my life to do so. However, whenever that pager sounds these men and women face that very real reality.
So for the government to finally recognize the efforts made by these men and women, I say it's about time.
According to the Canada Revenue Agency website, when an eligible firefighter claims the credit this year, they can possibly reduce income taxes they have paid or will owe at tax time by as much as $450.
If that's the least we can do - to help firefighters keep their hard-earned dollars in their pockets while they fight fires and respond to emergencies - then it's a good start.
The lives they save in their spare time are at least worth that much, wouldn't you agree?