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Budget 2015 Provides Tax Breaks to Volunteer Firefighters, Search and Rescue Personnel

by ahnationtalk on June 26, 2015558 Views

June 26, 2015

1,600 Manitoba Volunteers Expected to be Eligible: Minister Dewar

Manitoba’s Budget 2015 introduces new income tax credits for Manitobans who support and protect their communities by serving as volunteer firefighters or search and rescue personnel, Finance Minister Greg Dewar announced today.

“Every year, hundreds of communities across the province rely on friends and neighbours who volunteer their time as firefighters or on search and rescue missions to help keep Manitobans safe,” said Minister Dewar.  “This new tax credit will help offset some of the financial costs these brave Manitobans face as part of their service.”

The minister noted the new, non-refundable provincial tax credits parallel similar federal tax credits.  Manitobans who provide more than 200 volunteer hours in a year will be eligible to claim the tax credit.  The number of volunteer hours will be determined by the policies and procedures of the volunteer organization, which may include on-call hours.

“With more than 240 fire departments and approximately 3,500 volunteer firefighters in the province, it is great to know the government is looking after the fire service in Manitoba,” said Martin Haller, president, Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs.  “The volunteer firefighter tax credit is an important tool to help retain the membership of fire departments in rural communities, which is one of the priorities of our association.”

The tax credits will reduce Manitoba income tax otherwise payable in the year.  It is estimated the two tax credits will provide up to $324 each year to approximately 1,600 Manitobans, Minister Dewar said, adding the total estimated cost for the two tax credits is approximately $500,000.

Volunteer hours can be combined to meet the 200-hour requirement for search and rescue and firefighter activities to claim either of the tax credits, but an individual cannot claim a credit for volunteer firefighting and another credit for volunteer search and rescue.

Minister Dewar said the tax credits will begin this year, meaning volunteer firefighters and search and rescuers can claim their first credits when they file their 2015 income tax returns in early 2016.

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