Fire help in Harper budget
In recognition of the important role played by volunteer firefighters in contributing to the security and safety of Canadians, Budget 011 proposes a
olunteer Firefighters Tax Credit to allow eligible volunteer firefighters to claim a 15-per-cent nonrefundable tax credit based on an amount of 3,000.
An eligible individual will be a volunteer firefighter who performs at least 00 hours of volunteer firefighting services in a taxation year, for one or more fire departments, that consist primarily of responding to and being on call for firefighting and related emergency calls, attending meetings held by the fire department and participating in re uired training related to the prevention or suppression of fires. olunteer service hours performed by a firefighter for a fire department will be ineligible if the firefighter also provides firefighting services, otherwise than as a volunteer, to that fire department.
An individual who claims the credit will be re uired to obtain writ- ten certification from the chief, or a delegated official, of the fire department confirming the number of hours of eligible volunteer firefighting services performed. The details of the certification process will be developed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). An individual who claims the credit will be ineligible for the existing tax exemption of up to
1,000 for honoraria paid by a government, municipality or public authority in respect of firefighting duties. This measure will apply to the 011 and sub- se uent taxation years.
“Anything that the federal government will do to encourage the recruitment and retention of volunteer fire fighters is a positive step. It gets increasingly difficult to find volunteer fire fighters who are avail-
able and willing to sacrifice the time involved to protect their community,” commented Ayer’s Cliff fire chief Mike McKenna who is also the second vice-president of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Association. Mr. McKenna believes the tax credit will amount to only about $450. Also according to the fire chief, 90% of the time firefighters will take their personal vehicle to the fire, incurring vehicle expenses that they are not reimbursed for. The fire fighters also tend to replace their brakes, shocks and tires frequently to make sure they are in top shape for bad driving conditions. Down in the United States, the federal government supports their firefighters through a grant system for equipment from radios to fire trucks.
Providing nearly $870 million over two years to address climate change and air quality, including the extension of the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program that will help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient and reduce the burden of high energy costs.
Enhancing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for those seniors who rely almost exclusively on their Old Age Security and the GIS and may therefore be at risk of experiencing financial difficulties. This measure will provide a new top-up benefit of up to $600 annually for single seniors and $840 for couples.
To provide new support to caregivers of dependents with a mental or physical infirmity, including spouses, common-law partners and minor children, Budget 2011 proposes to introduce a Family Caregiver Tax Credit. This 15-per-cent non-refundable credit will be based on an amount of $2,000 and will apply beginning in 2012.