The volunteer firefighter’s amount (VFA) or the search and rescue volunteer’s amount (SRVA) is available to volunteer firefighters or search and rescue volunteers who have completed at least 200 hours of eligible services in the year. Eligible services include:
- Responding to and being on call for firefighting or search and rescue emergency calls
- Attending meetings held by the fire department or a search and rescue organization
- Participating in required training related to preventing or suppressing fires or search and rescue work
You can claim an amount of $3,000 on your return for either the VFA or SRVA; not both. However, if you volunteered as both a firefighter and search and rescue worker, you can combine the hours to reach the 200 hours needed to claim either amount.
If, at any time during the year, you provided services to the fire department or the search and rescue organization for which you were paid, you can’t include those hours to meet your 200-hour threshold.
Note: If you’re a volunteer firefighter in Nova Scotia, click here to learn more.
Tax tip: As a volunteer firefighter or search and rescue volunteer, you might be eligible to claim a $1,000 tax exemption on your income. If you choose to claim this income exemption, you can’t claim the VFA or SRVA. Your income exemption amount can be found in box 87 of your T4 slip. Click this link for more information on the income exemption for Emergency Services Volunteers.
Are you a resident of Manitoba or Nova Scotia?
Note: Even if you had income from a source within either of these provinces, you can’t claim this tax credit unless you were a resident as of December 31st.
Additionally, you can only claim the Nova Scotia tax credit if:
- you were a volunteer firefighter or a ground search and rescue volunteer for at least six months during the period between January 1 to December 31, 2016
- you didn’t receive salary, wages, or compensation, other than reasonable reimbursement or allowance for expenses for your services and
- for a volunteer firefighter, you were listed as a volunteer firefighter on the report filed by the fire chief of the volunteer fire department
Where can I learn more?
- Line 362 - Volunteer firefighters' amount and Line 395 - Search and rescue volunteers' amount (CRA website)
- Tax credit for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers (Revenu Québec website)