Tax Breaks for Firefighters

by Jennifer Hench

    Firefighters can deduct several expenses related to their job on their taxes.

    firefighter image by Harvey Hudson from Fotolia.com

    Firefighters, both volunteer and those employed by a fire department, fall under the same guidelines as others in terms of being required to file tax returns each year. Firefighters can lower their tax burden by taking deductions for items that are relevant and routine to performing the duties associated with firefighting. Firefighters who serve as volunteers, or serve as a volunteer in addition to being a paid firefighter, may also qualify for individual state-offered tax credits.

    Bunker Gear

    Bunker gear is the required uniform of firefighters. Volunteer and paid firefighters generally receive one set of gear for use in fighting fires. But the purchase of additional bunker gear and its maintenance can be deducted as an ordinary and un-reimbursed business expense of a paid firefighter or as a charitable contribution if the firefighter is a volunteer.

    Boots

    Fireproof boots are a requirement of firefighters. Paid firefighters can take a deduction for the purchase and upkeep of boots as a business expense, and volunteers may deduct the cost under the charitable contribution section of itemized expenses.

    Vehicle Mileage

    Volunteer firefighters drive between their homes and the fire station when fire calls come in and their station has been dispatched. This requires firefighters to put miles on their personal vehicles for getting to and from the station. The standard mileage deduction is used to determine the dollar amount deducted for travel purposes in providing services to the organization. Paid firefighters who volunteer while off duty can also take such a deduction for the time spent driving to and from a volunteer department.

    Training and Education

    Firefighters attend routine training to ensure they remain active and able to properly, safely and appropriately battle fires and attend to other emergency situations that require their service. Training offered through the fire station is one way firefighters remain up to date on equipment, issues and laws; however, additional courses can be taken at the expense of the firefighter. These costs can be deducted come tax time as educational expenses relevant and related to the role of a firefighter.

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    About the Author

    Jennifer Hench has been writing since 1990 on topics ranging from finance to technology. Her articles have appeared in "Network World" magazine, "Electrical Contractor" magazine as well as in other print and online media. Hench holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and another in information systems from Lebanon Valley College and Lock Haven University.

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