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Larson, Local Fire Chiefs Announce Permanent Tax Relief for Volunteer First Responders

February 24, 2021
Press Release

Hartford, CT – Yesterday, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) and local fire chiefs announced the enactment of the Volunteer Responders Incentive Act (VRIPA). VRIPA exempts from taxation local property tax reductions and up to $600 in other recruitment and retention benefits volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel receive from their communities.  VRIPA was made permanent as part of the FY2021 omnibus appropriations law.

“Every day, but especially in the midst of this raging pandemic, volunteer first responders go above and beyond to help and protect our neighborhoods. Volunteer first responders’ service annually produces approximately $140 billion in cost savings to our communities, yet these brave volunteers have been forced to pay federal taxes for their uniforms and other nominal benefits that their communities bestow in return. I have been fighting for relief for our volunteer responders since I took office. I was proud to join our local fire chiefs today to announce the permanent enactment of this tax incentive and thank them for their continued leadership,” said Larson.

“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Volunteer Fire Chiefs of CT, and the nation, to thank Congressman Larson and his colleagues for the making the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act (VRIPA) permanent. Today, with all the challenges facing the fire service and especially the volunteer sector, it is comforting to know that much of the benefits paid to volunteers will not be subject to withholding taxes. Those currently volunteering certainly appreciate this. Also, in this difficult climate of recruiting new volunteers, this assistance will be prominently mentioned in the list of benefits of volunteering in your community,” said Chief Robert Duval, Atwood Hose Fire Company (Wauregan, CT) and President of the CT Fire Chiefs Association.

"The Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act provides me with another tool in my toolbox.  To eliminate the tax consequences associated with the annual tax abatement, will not only assist in recruiting new members for the Glastonbury Fire Department, but will serves as a retention incentive for our existing members,” said Glastonbury Fire Chief Michael Thurz.

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