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A03254
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
376
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY OWLETT, PICKETT, LEWIS, RYAN, PETRARCA, PYLE,
READSHAW, STEPHENS, SCHLOSSBERG, KAUFFMAN, ROTHMAN, SNYDER,
KULIK, McNEILL, ZIMMERMAN, MACKENZIE, STRUZZI, WARREN, HILL-
EVANS, LONGIETTI, SAPPEY, OTTEN, JOZWIAK, BERNSTINE, BOBACK,
GABLER, BROWN, IRVIN, OBERLANDER, GOODMAN, MURT, KAUFER,
DeLUCA, JONES, KEEFER, CIRESI, HAHN, SIMMONS, FARRY AND
SAINATO, FEBRUARY 6, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON FINANCE, FEBRUARY 6, 2019
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), entitled "An
act relating to tax reform and State taxation by codifying
and enumerating certain subjects of taxation and imposing
taxes thereon; providing procedures for the payment,
collection, administration and enforcement thereof; providing
for tax credits in certain cases; conferring powers and
imposing duties upon the Department of Revenue, certain
employers, fiduciaries, individuals, persons, corporations
and other entities; prescribing crimes, offenses and
penalties," authorizing a tax credit for a member of a
volunteer emergency service organization who purchases fire
equipment with personal income.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) It is estimated that more than 90% of Pennsylvania's
emergency service organizations are volunteer organizations.
(2) Volunteer emergency service organizations are
estimated to save Pennsylvania taxpayers as much as
$6,000,000 per year.
(3) The ranks of Pennsylvania emergency response
associations have declined by more than half over the past 20
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years, from an estimated 152,000 volunteer firefighters in
1985 to 70,000 or fewer today.
(4) The potential public safety crisis that looms as a
result of the continuing decline and shortage of active
volunteer emergency responders necessitates the
Commonwealth's active involvement, in partnership with our
local communities, in providing volunteer emergency responder
retention incentives.
(5) An income tax credit for active volunteer emergency
responders that purchase their own fire equipment would
provide a small financial token of appreciation for the
invaluable service these dedicated men and women provide.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as
the Tax Reform Code of 1971, is amended by adding an article to
read:
ARTICLE XVIII-H
VOLUNTEER EMERGENCY RESPONDER EQUIPMENT
TAX CREDIT
Section 1801-H. Scope of article.
This article relates to volunteer emergency responder
equipment tax credits.
Section 1802-H. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Emergency service organization." A nonprofit chartered fire
company, volunteer ambulance service or volunteer rescue squad
located in this Commonwealth.
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" Equipment. " Acceptable equipment, including helmets,
jackets, protection gear, boots and fire suits.
Section 1803-H. Tax credit.
A volunteer emergency responder who purchase equipment with
the volunteer emergency responder's personal income may claim a
tax credit of up to $500 from tax imposed under Article III. If
the volunteer emergency responder's total State income tax
liability is less than $500, the credit shall equal the
remaining tax liability.
Section 1804-H. Proof of eligibility.
A volunteer emergency responder who claims a tax credit under
section 1803-H must provide to the Department of Revenue, at the
time the credit is claimed, documentation that the volunteer
emergency responder is an active volunteer of an emergency
service organization and documentation of the type of equipment
purchased and purchase price. The Department of Revenue shall
establish guidelines which provide for acceptable forms of
documentation.
Section 1805-H. Limitation.
A tax credit claimed by a volunteer emergency responder under
section 1803-H may only be for purchases made during the taxable
year in which the credit is being claimed.
Section 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
"Department." The Department of Revenue of the Commonwealth.
"Equipment." Personal property purchased by a volunteer
emergency responder in order to perform duties as a member of a
volunteer emergency service organization. The term includes, but
is not limited to, helmets, jackets, protection gear, boots and
fire suits.
"Qualified purchase." Equipment purchased by a taxpayer
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during the taxable year in which a tax credit will be claimed.
"Qualified tax liability." The liability for taxes imposed
under Article III for taxable years beginning after December 31,
2019.
"Tax credit." The Volunteer Emergency Responder Equipment
Tax Credit authorized under this article.
"Taxpayer." A volunteer emergency responder claiming a tax
credit under this article. The term includes an individual or
individuals filing jointly.
"Volunteer emergency responder." A member of a volunteer
emergency service organization.
"Volunteer emergency service organization." An organization
that is a volunteer fire company, volunteer ambulance service or
volunteer rescue company as those terms are defined in 35
Pa.C.S. (relating to health and safety).
Section 1803-H. Application.
(a) Application to department.--A taxpayer may submit an
application for a tax credit in a form and manner prescribed by
the department. The application shall contain the following
information:
(1) The name and location of the volunteer emergency
service organization of which the taxpayer is a volunteer
emergency responder.
(2) A certification for the applicant described in
section 1805-H.
(3) An itemized list of equipment purchased, including
price and date of purchase.
(4) Any other information required by the department.
(b) Procedure.--The application shall be attached to the
applicant's annual tax return required to be filed under Article
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III.
Section 1804-H. Tax credit.
(a) General rule.--A taxpayer may claim a tax credit against
the taxpayer's qualified tax liability incurred in the taxable
year for which the tax credit was approved.
(b) Joint return.--A tax credit granted under this article
may be applied to the spouse of an eligible applicant if both
the eligible applicant and the spouse report income on a joint
income tax return.
(c) Maximum credit.--
(1) A taxpayer who qualifies under subsection (a) may
claim a tax credit up to the amount of qualified purchases
made but the credit shall not exceed $500 in a single taxable
year.
(2) The department may not award more than $10,000,000
in tax credits in a single taxable year.
(3) If the total amount of eligible tax credits claimed
under this article in a taxable year exceeds $10,000,000, the
department shall equally divide the amount of the tax credit
per applicant.
Section 1805-H. Certification.
Prior to submitting an application to the department under
this article:
(1) The taxpayer must sign and submit the application to
the chief or supervisor of the volunteer emergency service
organization where the taxpayer serves.
(2) The chief or supervisor and another officer of the
volunteer emergency service organization must sign the
application attesting to the individual's status as a
volunteer with that specific organization.
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Section 1806-H. Carryover, carryback and refund.
A tax credit may not be carried back, carried forward or used
to obtain a refund.
Section 1807-H. Guidelines.
The department shall adopt guidelines and regulations as
necessary to administer this article.
Section 2. This act shall apply to tax years beginning after
December 31, 2019.
Section 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
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