Volunteer firefighters and EMS (emergency medical service) personnel in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, will receive a special tax rebate this year. Specifically, county officials have authorized a property tax rebate for firefighters and EMS personnel. The objective of the tax rebate program is to recognize the work of the volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel and encourage others to take up the work.
Property tax rebate for firefighters and EMS personnel: who will get it?
On Thursday, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners authorized a property tax rebate for firefighters and EMS personnel, officially called the Active Volunteer Service Tax Rebate Program. The program covers volunteer members of fire companies and eligible nonprofit emergency medical service (EMS) agencies in the county.
“Our volunteer fire and EMS members put their lives on the line every day for our community,” Jamila H. Winder, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, said in a press release.
Under the program, eligible firefighters will get a 25, 50, 75, or 100 percent rebate on their property taxes. The rebate amount will depend on firefighters and EMS personnel participation in “emergency response calls, trainings, public education activities, leadership roles, and other activities.”
Each of the above-mentioned activities carries specific points. For instance, responding to an emergency response call carries two points. Agency supervisors will keep a record of each volunteer’s activities.
A firefighter with 50 points in a calendar year will receive a 25% tax rebate; those with 100 points receive a 50% tax rebate; those with 150 points receive a 75% tax rebate; and those with 200 points qualify for a 100% rebate.
“This program offers the approximately 3,000 active volunteers in Montgomery County a rebate of up to 100% of their Montgomery County real estate tax, as a thank you for their service,” Winder said.
To qualify for the property tax rebate for firefighters and EMS personnel, a person needs to be a member of a volunteer fire company or of a recognized EMS agency during the eligibility period.
Active Volunteer Service Tax Rebate Program: what’s the need?
The objective of the Active Volunteer Service Tax Rebate Program is to “acknowledge the value and dedication of active EMS volunteers and to encourage others to become involved,” the press release says.
Additionally, the program acknowledges the risk that firefighters and EMS personnel take by offering a rebate to those injured during an emergency response call. Those injured while responding or participating or returning from an emergency response call may receive credit for up to five consecutive tax years, provided they have documentation from a licensed physician.
Pennsylvania has witnessed a significant drop in the number of volunteer firefighters over the last three decades, from 360,000 in the 1970s to below 37,000 now. Thus, officials hope a property tax rebate will encourage others to participate in similar jobs.
Those eligible for the property tax rebate for firefighters and EMS personnel will be able to apply for the program during the 2025 tax year for the services offered from Jan. 1, 2024, through Dec. 31, 2024.