Hanover Township Emergency ServicesAcross the state, emergency services volunteers spend hours training, responding to incidents and assisting first responders. In many cases, their response efforts allow law enforcement and fire personnel to return to patrol or to their stations to respond to the next call.

To ensure these volunteers receive compensation for their often-thankless work, State Senator Cristina Castro is working to pass a measure that would enable disaster and emergency services volunteers in Illinois to qualify for the volunteer emergency worker tax credit.

“Volunteer first responders are some of the most important unsung heroes in our communities,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “Expanding the volunteer emergency worker tax credit not only benefits current volunteers — it will also bolster our workforce and encourage others to volunteer in their community.”

Castro’s measure would allow municipal and county volunteer emergency workers to qualify for the Illinois volunteer emergency workers tax credit beginning in taxable year 2024. The volunteer would be eligible if they serve for at least 100 hours at a local emergency services and disaster agency during the taxable year, do not earn more than $5,000 for their service, and are registered with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. These requirements would only apply to volunteers working with a local emergency services and disaster agency. Volunteer firefighters and emergency service volunteers working with a fire department are already eligible for the tax credit.

“These dedicated volunteers work to keep our communities safe, and providing them with tax relief is a small way we can show them how invaluable their work is,” added Castro.

Senate Bill 2704 passed the Senate Tuesday and moves to the House for consideration.