Please note that the following document, although believed to be correct at the time of issue, may not represent the current position of the CRA.
Prenez note que ce document, bien qu'exact au moment émis, peut ne pas représenter la position actuelle de l'ARC.
Principal Issues: What are eligible volunteer firefighting services for firefighter's who are on call?
Position: See letter for details.
Reasons: The legislation.
The office of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, forwarded to me a copy of your correspondence, which I received on March 1, 2012, concerning the new volunteer firefighter tax credit (VFTC).
You ask for information that could help you certify the portion of eligible volunteer firefighting services for firefighters who are on call.
To qualify for the VFTC, a volunteer firefighter must complete at least 200 hours of eligible services with one or more fire departments in a tax year. Eligible services include all services volunteer firefighters provide to a fire department in their capacity as volunteer firefighters. Those services must consist mainly of the following:
- responding to and being on call for firefighting and related emergency calls as a firefighter;
- attending meetings held by the fire department; and
- participating in required training related to the prevention or suppression of fire.
Even if a volunteer carries a pager or cellphone to receive notifications of an emergency, carrying such a device does not establish that the individual is on call. It is the volunteer’s responsibility to inform the appropriate official in the fire department of any periods he or she will not be available to respond to a call (for example, while on vacation). The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) expects that each fire department will examine its on call procedures to certify the number of hours of eligible services.
When certifying a volunteer’s eligible hours, it is the CRA’s view that a fire department should assess each volunteer’s on call availability for response in accordance with its own departmental expectations, operational requirements, and applicable policies and procedures. In general, a person is on call if you expect that person to respond promptly to an emergency. Certainly, the examples in your letter illustrate that you were on call when you left family engagements to attend your duties.
I trust that the information I have provided is helpful.
Gail Shea, P.C., M.P.
Minister of National Revenue
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