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nellajah
New Member

Firefighter/ safety officer deductions?

I qualify for the firefighter/safety officer deduction. I have clicked yes on this question but when I go back to edit I find it has been  turned off. Why? How do I  be sure I am getting that deduction. I do not find it on the 1040 tax return form?

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Anita01
New Member

Firefighter/ safety officer deductions?

When you go back through the interview, you are resetting the default to no  Answer the questions once and then leave them alone.  If you look at your 1040, the taxable amount of your retirement income should be reduced by $3,000; there's no separate deduction.

Click on Tax Tools on the left, then Tools.  Choose view my Tax Summary, then Preview my 1040.

View solution in original post

2 Replies
Anita01
New Member

Firefighter/ safety officer deductions?

When you go back through the interview, you are resetting the default to no  Answer the questions once and then leave them alone.  If you look at your 1040, the taxable amount of your retirement income should be reduced by $3,000; there's no separate deduction.

Click on Tax Tools on the left, then Tools.  Choose view my Tax Summary, then Preview my 1040.

View solution in original post

ScruffyCurmudgeon
Level 9

Firefighter/ safety officer deductions?

In general, the following describes tax benefits available to firefighters.  There are specific additional benefits offered by certain states or municipalities- South Carolina for example.

Specific answers vary both by state and municipality.

IRS Statement:
http://www.irs.gov/Government-Entities/Federal,-State-&-Local-Governments/Issues-for-Firefighte...

In response to several various questions in no particular sequence:

  1. If your Fire Department bake sale is for the municipal department, then any expenses you incur are charitable.  However, this is not typical.  My experience [38 years FF/medic] was that such bake sales were for the Firefighter Association not the municipality.  Also, although you say your FF org is a §501(C)(3), I have seen that almost all if not all are instead §501(c)(4) which is still a not-for-profit but not technically charitable since it does not meet the conditions - so payments to it or for it would not be deductible if it is a (c)(4) instead of (c)(3) - best to check.

  2. SEE Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act   Public Law No: 110-142: in PDF Attachment
    The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-142) included a provision that excludes from taxable income $30 per month of the wages from state or municipal governments to volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel. This benefit has been  extended through 2016. . This can also apply to debt that is discharged in 2018 provided that there was a written agreement entered into in 2017.

    To calculate your annual exclusion, multiply the number of months you provided such services by the $30 monthly exclusion. If you worked the entire year as a volunteer, you may be entitled to a $360 exclusion of income received from the governmental unit as wages for your volunteer services. In addition, your excluded wages would not be subject to federal withholding, social security tax, Medicare tax, and unemployment tax.

    Be advised, however, that any exclusion of income from taxes would reduce any charitable deduction for expenses paid by you in connection with the performance of such services. For instance, if you provided your own vehicle in the performance of your duties as a volunteer firefighter and in the past have deducted the mileage incurred as a charitable contribution, any exclusion of income would reduce your charitable deduction dollar for dollar. In other words, if you claimed the maximum annual exclusion of $360 for 2010, assuming that your only charitable contribution pertaining to your volunteer services involved mileage of your personal vehicle, unless the charitable mileage exceeded 2,500 miles (or $360 in allowable vehicle expenses), you would not be allowed any charitable deduction in connection with the volunteer service.

Here follows my general answers to FF questions.

Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency medical responders should not include in reported income the following benefits received as payments by the state or city for which you volunteer:

1. Rebates or reductions of property or income taxes you receive because of services that you performed.

2. Payments you receive because of services you performed up to $30 per month. This value of $30 is the statutory maximum amount that is tax-exempt.

Now as for expenses, if you do not receive a W-2 [yes, some municipalities do issue W-2 for part-time and call firefighters], then all expenses that you incur including mileage as well as any costs for gear and equipment that you yourself pay and are not reimbursed are all deductible on Schedule A as charitable contributions.

Additionally there are some states that offer specific tax credits on the state income tax for call/volunteer fire department members.

Volunteer firefighters are emergency services personnel who assist as first responders to various situations. Fires, car wrecks and industrial accidents all require firefighters for assistance. The expenses incurred by volunteer firefighters can add up throughout the year and those performing such a public service can deduct all viable expenses on income tax returns to help offset the cost of being a volunteer.

Firefighters who volunteer at a station are issued bunker gear, boots, safety goggles and other types of protective clothing to ensure their personal safety while performing duties. Firefighters who choose to purchase additional gear, at their own expense, can deduct the cost of the items as a charitable contribution. This type of deduction is allowed if the items cannot be used for other purposes and the items are solely for the use of volunteering services to the charitable organization, in this case the volunteer fire department.

Mileage

Volunteer firefighters who need to drive between home, work, school or elsewhere to the fire station to take fire calls can log those miles accumulated throughout the year and deduct those as a charitable expense. This type of deduction is taken as a type of charitable contribution as the mileage is accrued to provide a service to the organization. The standard rate for mileage is used to calculate the total deduction available for the current tax year.

Training and Education

Training and continuing education, relevant to firefighting and emergency services, is provided by the volunteer fire station on a routine basis. You may also opt to take additional classes and sessions to further enhance your own skills to make yourself a more qualified firefighter. You can deduct the amount paid for such classes and coursework as an educational expense that was not reimbursed by using the line available on Form 1040. You do not need to itemize your deductions to receive this deduction.

Donations

Volunteer firefighters are required to pay annual dues to the fire company to be considered full and active members of the station. The dues can be deducted from income taxes under the dues and membership section of Schedule A for Form 1040 for those with enough itemized deductions to surpass the standard deduction, or the firehouse dues can be deducted as a straight charitable contribution.

Hope this helps.


    

Scruffy Curmudgeon--PFFM/ IAFF, Locals 718/30, retired firefighter/medic; univ faculty NOT INTUIT EMPLOYEE
- Strategy & Quantitative Methods Med-M&M, Law discriminatory statistics, Med & PH - epidemiology statistics;
USAR 64-67 AIS/ASA MOS 9301 - O3
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-------------------------------------No Not an Intuit Employee - Just donating my time
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