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Published: 1/31/2023

Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Service Members Should Receive Both an Income Tax Credit and County Property Tax Exemption 

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – This week, members of the Dutchess County Legislature sent a letter to their State Representatives encouraging them to introduce legislation that would allow volunteer firefighters and ambulance service workers to receive both the New York State $200 Income Tax Credit and a local property tax exemption. The State Law, as currently written, specifically restricts a volunteer member's ability to accept both.

“The Dutchess County Legislature does not see a reason why two separate governments cannot both offer incentives to volunteer firefighters and ambulance service members,” said Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver. “By introducing legislation that would allow for volunteers to collect both, it is our hope that this would help efforts in recruiting new members and further extend our appreciation for these brave men and women who have answered the call to serve.”

“Dutchess County and New York State need to use all of the tools in their tool box to recruit and incentivize others to volunteer with the local fire districts, and allowing members to receive both the state income tax credit and the county property tax exemption is one small way to do so,” said County Legislator Ed Hauser (Pawling, Beekman, East Fishkill). “As a Volunteer Firefighter, I know first-hand the value of having these departments in our towns, counties, and State and by introducing this legislation, we’re reinforcing that these members have a grateful community behind them.”

Specifically, the letter from members of the Dutchess County Legislature is encouraging legislation that would repeal a section of the New York State Tax Law which restricts a volunteer’s ability to receive both an income tax credit and a property tax exemption. This could be accomplished by passing legislation and/or by advocating for its inclusion in the State Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget.

Legislation signed into law in December of 2022 allows for Counties, Towns, School Districts, and Fire Districts to offer their own ten-percent property tax exemption for Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Service Members. The average home in Dutchess County has an assessment value of approximately $350,000, equating the County property tax exemption to roughly $87.15 and roughly $110,000 county-wide. As the law currently stands, in most cases it would not be beneficial for volunteer members to take the county property tax exemption over the State Income Tax Credit. Local municipalities in Dutchess County have also expressed interest in introducing a similar local law allowing for their own property tax exemption. The combination of multiple municipalities offering the exemptions would likely exceed the State’s income tax credit. 

The Legislature’s proposed local law will be voted upon at the Government Services & Administration Committee Meeting on February 9th, and if approved, will be presented at the Board Meeting on February 14th.

A copy of the letter sent is attached.

To learn more about the proposed local law, click here