Cozad volunteer firefighter pushes for changes to incentive tax credit program

Cozad volunteer firefighter pushes for changes to incentive tax credit program (NTV News)

An incentive giving volunteer firefighters the ability to receive a tax credit became difficult, according to one firefighter.

One Cozad firefighter said the requirements were difficult and he said he knew it would be an issue for individual members to actually qualify for the credit.

Inside the Cozad Fire Department, 17 members qualified for the $250 tax credit but never received it, and they're not sure what happened after they submitted paperwork.

"There are 17 members who are not going to get the tax credit this year. Everything they did, they did the things they were required to do, but somewhere along the process, it got screwed up so they aren't getting the tax credit they otherwise deserve," said Cozad volunteer firefighter Scott Schmidt.

The Nebraska Legislature passed the volunteer emergency responders incentive act during the 2016 legislative session.

"It also was intended to reward those people who are already members and make it that there is this additional incentive for you to do the things that you do for the local communities," Schmidt said.

In order to receive the credit, responders had to accumulate 50 out of 100 possible points within six different categories, which their individual responders had done.

"They're going to have to write a check to the state of Nebraska now for $250 because somebody dropped the ball on a system that I think is too difficult to implement and punishes individual members when it's out of their control," Schmidt said.

The department reached out to the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighter Association for help.

The president of the association Marlene Bomar said at the board meeting in October, they will bring up any issues to determine if changes need to be made.

"The whole thing needs to be fixed so that it can be done without having to go through so many steps to get there," Schmidt said.

Going forward, the Cozad Fire Department plans to meet with the city in hopes to bring this issue to the legislature next session.

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