Volunteer Emergency Worker Credit
What is the volunteer emergency worker (VEW) credit?
The volunteer emergency worker credit (Public Act 103-0009) is a $500 non-refundable credit that can be used to reduce your Illinois individual income tax liability for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2023, and beginning prior to January 1, 2028. The credit is awarded to volunteer fire service emergency workers that apply for, qualify for, and are awarded the credit. The aggregate amount of all tax credits awarded in any calendar year may not exceed $5,000,000. Credits shall be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Non-refundable tax credits are applied to your Illinois income tax before withholding and refundable credits. These credits can help reduce your individual income tax liability but cannot result in a refund of the credit amount. For example, if your Illinois Individual Income Tax is $200, and you have a VEW credit of $500. You would only be able to use $200 of the VEW credit to reduce your tax to $0. You would not receive the remaining $300 of VEW credit.
Who is a volunteer emergency worker?
A volunteer emergency worker is defined as a person who serves as a member, other than on a full-time career basis, of a fire department, fire protection district, or fire protection association that has a State Fire Marshal Identification Number (SFMID) issued by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and who does not serve as a member on a full-time career basis for another fire department, fire protection district, fire protection association, or government entity.
Do I meet the requirements for the VEW credit?
To meet the requirements for the VEW income tax credit, you must
- have served as a volunteer emergency worker for at least 9 months during the taxable year.
- have not received compensation for your services as a volunteer emergency worker of more than $5,000 for the taxable year.
- be included on the list provided by your fire chief, to the OSFM, attesting that you met the previous two qualifications.
- submit a complete online application with IDOR.
- be one of the first 10,000 qualified applicants.
What do I need to do before I apply for the VEW credit?
News! The verification period for your fire chief to attest to your status as a qualified volunteer emergency worker to OSFM has been extended to April 11, 2024.
Before you submit your application for the Volunteer Emergency worker Credit, you must:
1) first establish an OSFM Personnel, Standards and Education (DPSE) WebAccess Portal Account.
2) Once an OSFM account is established, contact your local fire department, district, or office chief and request that your name be added to the list of qualified volunteer emergency workers sent to OSFM.
3) Once 1 & 2 are complete, you may complete the Volunteer Emergency Worker Credit Application through MyTax Illinois.
How do I apply for the VEW credit?
To apply for the Volunteer Emergency Worker Credit follow the instructions below.
Click on the application link.
Important: In the application, enter your information exactly as it appears on the OSFM portal. You must have all the following information:
Identity Information tab:
- Social security number (SSN)
- Choose an option for verification. Tip: Make sure to enter the information exactly as it appears on your ID card or prior year return.
- Illinois Driver's License number and information,
- Illinois State Identification Card number and information, or
- Prior Year Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from your 2022 federal Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
Volunteer Emergency Worker information tab:
- First and last name as listed with OSFM
- Social Security number (SSN)
- Email address
- Complete mailing address
Note: To confirm your OSFM information, login to your account on OSFM Personnel, Standards, and Education (DPSE) WebAccess Portal.
Fire Department information tab:
- Fire district, department, or association chief’s name,
- City or county location,
- Fire department identification number (FDID) for which you volunteer,
- Volunteer-specific state fire marshal identification number (SFMID), and
- Fire district, department, or association name
- Enter applicant’s full name to certify.
- Choose submit to submit your application.
- You will receive a confirmation page that requires your email to submit.
What happens after I apply for the VEW credit? How will I know if I receive the credit?
Once your application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email verifying that it was received. Important: This is not an approval of the credit.
Your application will be reviewed and if
- the information you submitted matches the information provided by OSFM and you are one of the first 10,000 applicants, you will receive a certificate verifying your credit.
- the information you submitted does not match the information provided by OSFM, you will receive a denial of the credit.
- there is a question about the information you provided, we will contact you by email to request more information and you will have 10 business days to respond. If you do not respond in 10 business days, you will forfeit the credit.
Note: If your name was on multiple lists sent to OSFM, your name is uploaded to the file with the first list, alphabetically. It should show on the OSFM file only once.
VEW Credit Certificate Look-up Application
You may use the VEW credit certificate look-up service by following these instructions.
- Go to MyTax Illinois, and scroll down to “Inquiries for Individuals.”
- Select “Look up my volunteer emergency worker credit certificate.”
- Enter your:
- Taxpayer ID (SSN, ATIN, or ITIN)
- Fire Department Identification Number (FDID)
- Volunteer State Fire Marshal Identification Number (SFMID)
- Filing Year – this should be 2023
- Select “Search.”
Can I receive a refund of the VEW credit?
The VEW credit is a $500 non-refundable credit which means that the credit is only able to reduce your individual income tax liability. It cannot result in a refund. The VEW credit is applied to your income tax liability after any property tax credit and K-12 education expenses credit and before refundable credits, payments, and withholding. For more information, see Form IL-1040 and Schedule ICR Instructions for the current tax year.
How do I use the credit?
The VEW credit certificate will contain a certificate number that you will use when you file your Form IL-1040. You will need to complete Schedule ICR, Section C, and enter your VEW Credit Certificate Number. This number will be compared to our records to verify your credit.
Should I apply for the credit if I do not have Illinois individual income tax liability?
The VEW credit is a non-refundable credit, which means that it cannot result in a refund or overpayment. If you do not have Illinois individual income tax liability or receive a property tax credit and/or a K-12 education expense credit that results in no tax liability, then you will not be able to use the VEW credit. So, if you are awarded the VEW credit and you are not able to use it, the credit is not available for someone else who could use it to reduce their Illinois individual income tax liability. Since the credit is limited to the first 10,000 qualified volunteer emergency workers that apply, it will not be available to volunteer emergency workers that meet the criteria but applied after the initial 10,000. Please do not apply for the VEW credit if you do not have Illinois individual income tax liability.