Volunteer Firefighters to Get $500 Tax Credit from Illinois

Published on

Volunteer firefighters, who risk their lives for little to no pay, will now get some extra help from the state to cover their expenses. Lawmakers recently signed a bill into law that will give volunteer firefighters a $500 tax credit from Illinois.

$500 Tax Credit From Illinois: Who Will Get It?

Illinois Senate Bill 1963, which created a Volunteer Emergency Worker $500 tax credit, was passed as part of a larger, bipartisan legislative package. The proposal was backed by Sen. Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City).

Specifically, Senate Bill 1963 establishes a Volunteer Emergency Worker $500 tax credit for people who receive below $5,000 annually in stipends for their service to the fire department.

“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,” Sen. Bennett said.

Further, Bennett noted that the credit will not only help volunteer firefighters cover their expenses, but will also help address the shortage of volunteer fire and EMS workers in the state.

Eligible individuals will be able to use this credit when they file their returns next year. This tax credit from Illinois will take effect in the 2023 tax year.

This is not the first time a state has announced financial help for firefighters. Last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a $1,000 “pandemic bonus” for first responders, including sworn law enforcement officers, EMTs, firefighters or paramedics.

 “These bonuses are a well-deserved recognition to our law enforcement and first responders for all they do for Florida,” Gov. DeSantis said when announcing the bonus payment last year. DeSantis referred to the bonus as a “small token of appreciation” for “their continued service to our communities.”

Efforts Under Way To Make CTC Permanent

Efforts are also being made in Illinois to make the child tax credit permanent. A few months back, some Illinois lawmakers introduced a bill to make the child tax credit permanent, including up to $700 per child for eligible families.

Under the bill, single filers with an annual income of less than $50,000 (joint filers earning less than $75,000 per year) would qualify for the full credit.

State Rep. Marcus Evans Jr., who was the sponsor of the bill, noted that the credit aims to support low-income and working families by giving them more revenue and spending power.

Similarly, in February, a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced a proposal to establish a state-level Illinois child tax credit program. Similar to the above bill, this proposal also calls for a $700 income tax credit each year for each child under age 17.

“It is time for the state to create a permanent Child Tax Credit that puts money back into the pockets of parents in Illinois, so that parents can take care of their children and communities can begin to recover,” State Sen. Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) said at the time.

Sen. Simmons, one of the proposal’s sponsors, expects the credit to benefit about half of the children in the state.