Search and rescue volunteer tax credit good news, says Wolverines member
In his 22 years with the Avalon North Wolverines Search and Rescue group, Joe Cleary has volunteered a lot of time, driven a lot of kilometres and dished out a lot of his own money to help find and save people in this province.
The 61-year-old loves what he does and would never complain.
But the announcement in the provincial government budget last Tuesday that first responders would be allotted a new search and rescue volunteer tax credit certainly came as good news for him.
“It will be a big help to us,” said Cleary, who clocked almost 750 hours of volunteer work last year with the Wolverines.
“This has been in the works for a few years, so it’s long overdue,” he said.
Cleary said there’s a heavy cost to being a volunteer search and rescue member, in that all equipment has to be paid for out of members’ own pockets.
“We have to buy GPSs, compasses, proper clothing, like coveralls, not to mention the gas driving back and forth,” he said. “A GPS alone can cost about $500. It all adds up, so this will be a big savings for us.”
The provincial tax credit will allow eligible search and rescue volunteers to claim a $3,000 non-refundable tax credit.
Cleary figures he’ll get back about $300 in taxes, along with additional money from the federal volunteer search and rescue tax credit, which has been available since the 2014 taxation year.
“It’ll be a big benefit for us, for sure,” said Cleary, adding that there are 27 search and rescue groups across the province. “And maybe it will help attract more (search and rescue) volunteers.”
It will be a big help to us.
— Joe Cleary
Joe Cleary is a longtime volunteer with the Avalon North Wolverines Search and Rescue group.