On November 21, 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law HB1683 (Act 172 of 2016) authorizing municipalities to grant fire and emergency medical service (EMS) volunteers certain credits toward local taxes. Under Act 172, which took effect on January 20, 2017, municipalities may now offer a credit available to a volunteer’s local earned income tax up to the entire amount of the tax paid, and a real estate tax credit not to exceed 20% of the volunteer’s real estate tax liability. Municipalities enact a Volunteer Service Credit Program by passing an ordinance and enacting policies supporting the Program.
Only volunteers who apply and qualify under a Volunteer Service Credit Program enacted by a participating municipality are eligible for tax credits. To be eligible under such a Program, a volunteer must submit an application for certification to the chief of the volunteer fire company or the supervisor or chief of the nonprofit emergency medical services agency where the volunteer serves.
Act 172 provides a list of activities that fire and EMS chiefs and supervisors must refer to when determining if the volunteer is eligible to participate in a Program. Fire and EMS chiefs and supervisors must sign-off on volunteers who meet the requirements of a Program and submit a notarized list of eligible volunteers to the governing body of the municipality no later than 45 days before tax notices are distributed. Each municipality may decide whether to implement such a Program in their community.
Municipalities and elected officials that desire to implement a Volunteer Service Credit Program should contact their solicitor to discuss the necessary ordinance and policies to establish such a Program.
Mark is a partner at Lamb McErlane. He concentrates his practice on municipal, land use, environmental law and property tax assessment matters. Mark serves as Solicitor for numerous municipalities in Pennsylvania.