Taxation of emergency volunteers

If you provide volunteer emergency services (volunteer firefighters, ambulance technicians and other emergency service volunteers who are called upon to assist in emergencies), you’re entitled to a $1,000 tax exemption for allowances received. Amounts paid in excess of this limit are taxable. This $1,000 exemption is not available if you were employed by the same authority to perform the same or similar work other than as a volunteer.

Tax credit for volunteer firefighters

Volunteer firefighters who perform at least 200 hours of volunteer firefighting services in a year can claim a 15% non- refundable tax credit based on an amount of $3,000 ($450). To claim this credit, you may have to obtain written certification confirming the number of eligible hours performed. Also, if you claim this credit you cannot also claim the tax exemption of up to $1,000 for honoraria received as an emergency volunteer.

Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit

The Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit (SRVTC) allows eligible ground, air and marine search and rescue volunteers to claim a 15% non-refundable tax credit based on an amount of $3,000.

To qualify, you must be a search and rescue volunteer who performs at least 200 hours of volunteer search and rescue services in a taxation year, for one or more ground, air or marine search and rescue organizations. Volunteer services will not qualify if you also provide search and rescue services, otherwise than as a volunteer, to the organization.

If you perform both eligible volunteer firefighting services and eligible volunteer search and rescue services for a total of at least 200 hours in the year, you will be able to claim either the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit or the SRVTC.

Similar to the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit, you may have to obtain written certification confirming the number of eligible hours performed. Also, if you claim this credit you cannot also claim the tax exemption of up to $1,000 for honoraria received as an emergency volunteer.