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New Jersey Senate Committee Allows $2,000 Tax Deduction for Volunteer First Responders!


In a significant move to bolster the ranks of volunteer first responders in New Jersey, the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee has made a decisive step forward. The committee recently advanced a bipartisan bill that aims to provide a financial incentive to these vital community members.

Spearheaded by Senators Vin Gopal, Christopher Connors, and Kristin Corrado, the proposed legislation allows for a $2,000 exemption as a deduction from New Jersey State income tax for eligible volunteers. The driving force behind this initiative is the critical role that emergency services volunteers play across New Jersey towns.

Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth) emphasized the invaluable contribution of these volunteers and the pressing need to increase their numbers. “By offering this tax exemption, we hope to encourage more residents to become active volunteers and motivate current volunteers to maintain their invaluable service,” he remarked.

To qualify for this tax deduction, first aid and rescue squad members must meet specific criteria. They are required to have completed at least 10 percent of rescue duty. Additionally, by January 1st of the tax year, they must have either passed a training program approved by the New Jersey First Aid Council or qualified as an emergency medical technician based on the Department of Health standards.

Firefighters are also eligible for this deduction. To qualify, they must have completed 60 percent of fire duty. By January 1st of the tax year, they should have attained either the rank of Firefighter I Certified according to the International Fire Service Training Association standards or equivalent standards approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.

This legislative effort is distinct from a proposed constitutional amendment in New Jersey. The amendment would enable municipalities to offer a property tax credit to volunteer firefighters or volunteer first aid squad members, including Hatzolah members, of up to 100% for their primary residence.

The bill successfully passed the committee with a unanimous vote of 4-0, marking a significant step in recognizing and compensating the efforts of volunteer first responders in New Jersey. This legislative action reflects a growing recognition of the essential services provided by these volunteers and the need to support and expand their ranks.

Statistically, the impact of volunteer first responders is profound. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, volunteer firefighters comprise a significant portion of the U.S. fire service. In New Jersey alone, volunteers play a crucial role in many communities, especially in rural or less densely populated areas.

The proposed tax deduction is expected to not only provide financial relief to current volunteers but also to serve as an incentive for new volunteers, addressing the challenge of declining volunteer numbers in recent years.

New Jersey Senate Committee Allows $2,000 Tax Deduction for Volunteer First Responders!

As the bill moves forward in the legislative process, its potential to positively influence volunteer first responder recruitment and retention is significant. By acknowledging the sacrifices and contributions of these individuals through financial incentives, New Jersey is setting a precedent for supporting emergency services volunteers in a tangible and impactful way.

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