Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hope for RCMP tax credit

by Kate Bouey - CASTANET  Aug 18, 2016 / 10:29 am 
Vernon city councillor Bob Spiers' effort to win a tax credit for auxiliary RCMP constables still has some life in it. Spiers started an e-petition last year calling for the auxiliary constables to be given the same tax credit as other volunteer first responders. It was tabled in the Commons in May by North Okanagan Shuswap MP Mel Arnold. “The government recognizes the contributions of all volunteers and the important roles they play in their communities,” says a government response to the e-petition. “In light of this, reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred by volunteers in the course of their duties may generally be reimbursed on a non-taxable basis.” The federal government also promises a “review of federal tax expenditures in the coming year to ensure that they are fair, efficient and fiscally responsible.” “I interpret the government's response as – that they may review the possibility of extending the credit in their next budget for 2017,” Spiers says. “Not what I wanted but still a glimmer of hope.” A total of 783 people signed the e-petition, mostly from B.C. and Ontario.
Auxiliary tax credit reviewed
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star posted Aug 18, 2016 at 2:00 PM
Attempts to have all emergency personnel treated equally haven’t been dashed. Bob Spiers, Vernon councillor, has been told by the federal government that his petition to have auxiliary police officers receive a tax benefit will be reviewed as part of federal tax expenditures. “I was hoping they would say they would put it into their fiscal update in the fall,” he said. “I will look at the bright side of things. They haven’t rejected it and will hopefully consider it in their (2017) budget talks.” The petition applies to all RCMP, provincial and municipal auxiliary police officers. A tax credit for volunteer firefighters has been in place since 2011 and since 2014 for volunteer search and rescue members.

Under House of Commons rules, a public petition attracting more than 500 signatures can be presented to MPs for consideration. In May, North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold presented Spiers’ petition to his colleagues. Spiers isn’t speculating on how the Liberal government will ultimately handle the request for an auxiliary police tax credit. “Hopefully the people looking at it will seriously consider it,” he said. “It was well supported by our MP and a lot of other people.”

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