Fire Fighter Tax Exemptions  

       If you are a fire fighter in the US, then the same tax laws apply to you in the same manner as other types of workers. It does not matter whether you are a volunteer or a regular fire fighter. You are termed as an employee and you are considered one for federal tax purposes.

        However, volunteer fire fighters can be considered common-law or independent contractors and the tax rate will vary accordingly depending on your qualifications. It is best to check the IRS Publication 15 and the Employer’s Tax Guide to gather more information to determine whether you come as common-law employee or an independent contractor.

         It does not matter whether you are paid on a call-basis, monthly, weekly or hourly. It also does not matter whether you are full time fire fighter or a part time fire fighter. The payments you receive are wages which have to be reported on Form W-2, and your employer has to withhold federal income tax, social security and Medicare. You employer will have to file Form 941.

        This said, there are certain fringe benefits that fire fighters get which are exempt from taxes. These fringe benefits are as follows:

  • Meals provided by employer for his own convenience
  • Employee discounts
  • Achievement awards
  • Health insurance
  • Educational benefits

         In addition, many states in the US have introduced tax exemption for fire fighters. This means that fire fighters (even volunteers) receive state and local tax credits and/or rebates. Since these benefits are provided for a service rendered, fire fighters have to include these in taxable wages for federal tax purposes.

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