Providing permanent income tax relief to first responders injured while on duty

Associated Press/John Minchillo

The calling of our nation’s police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics is one of extraordinary service to others. In selfless, often unappreciated sacrifice, these first responders have dedicated themselves to the communities they serve. While our lives may continue thanks to their dedication and bravery, often this is not the case for first responders or their families.

The dangers that many of them face are beyond what most of us can comprehend. As Americans, we rest easy knowing first responders are there to answer the call if we ever need help. Yet our first responders and their families are keenly aware that each time they answer one of our calls, it could be their last. And when tragedy strikes, for many, the affliction is too much to bear.

{mosads}Every year, hundreds of our nation’s first responders are tragically hurt or killed in the line of duty. Ensuring financial stability in the wake of calamity for the heroes among us is imperative. Current IRS rulings provide some tax relief in this situation by waiving federal income tax on disability payments to first responders who suffer a long-term or career-ending injury in the line of duty.

Unfortunately, however, this provision only applies until the first responder reaches his or her original age of retirement. After that date, disability payments then become subject to federal income tax. While this is a step in the right direction, it is not nearly adequate.

That’s why I was proud to introduce the Putting Our First Responders First Act of 2021 (H.R. 3060). This bipartisan legislation will provide permanent income tax relief to those first responders injured while serving us, even into retirement age. Additionally, this legislation will provide the IRS and its auditors with the necessary guidance and training on the tax-exempt status of these individuals.

I believe this bill will help our heroes and their families stay on solid financial footing in the wake of tragedy. Although a small tweak to the tax code, this action would have a profound impact on our disabled first responders ensuring financial concerns are the least of their worries. It has been endorsed by several law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Officers, the U. S. First Responders Association, and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. These are fine institutions, and I am proud to have their endorsements.

{mossecondads}We owe our first responders a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. Their jobs carry enormous risk, and their safety is never guaranteed, so I am grateful to my colleagues in the House and a bipartisan group in the Senate for coming together on behalf of those who keep our communities safe.

Despite the present intensity of partisanship in Washington, coming together to get meaningful work done is possible. We were sent to Congress with a mandate to be effective. When we prioritize those among us who provide an invaluable service to our communities it is possible to achieve wins that everybody can be proud of.

Norman represents the 5th District of South Carolina.

Tags Firefighters first responders Front Lines Police

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