OTTAWA – Approximately 600 volunteer firefighters in northern and central Nova Scotia have taken advantage of a new tax credit announced as part of the 2011 federal budget.
“This is something I worked very hard on during the (2010) campaign and behind the scenes to make it happen,” Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong said Tuesday.
The non-refundable tax credit is available to volunteer firefighters who provide at least 200 hours of eligible services per calendar year at one or more fire departments. Services include responding to and being on call for firefighting and related emergencies, attending meetings at the fire department and taking required fire prevention and firefighting training.
Armstrong said 98 per cent of the riding is covered by volunteer firefighters, who often spend their own money on fuel to get back and forth to the fire hall, for training and equipment – above government funding.
“The National Firefighters Association studied this and found the average volunteer firefighter spends about $3,000 annually to serve his or her community. The credit of $450 represents the federal tax on that amount,” Armstrong said. “Volunteer firefighters play such a vital role in the life of our rural communities.”
Nationally, 37,000 Canadians took advantage of the credit that reduces income taxes for eligible firefighters by as much as $450.
“This credit is one of several measures announced in the 2011 budget to support strong rural communities. Leaving more of Canadians’ hard-earned dollars in their pockets also supports jobs and growth in Canada. I encourage all volunteer firefighters in Cumberaland, Colchester and Musquodoboit Valley to learn more about the credit and, if eligible, to claim it when filing their 2012 income tax and benefit returns,” Armstrong said.
Fore more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/firefighter.