Statement on Internal Revenue Service Decision to Protect Volunteer Firefighters from Health Care Law

January 13, 2014

BELLEFONTE, Pa. – U.S. Representative Glenn 'GT' Thompson (PA-5) tonight issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) concerning the treatment of volunteer firefighters under the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

"Our local emergency volunteer organizations deserve to have this situation clarified and settled, and today's announcement by the Treasury Department and IRS is a step in the right direction. I look forward to reviewing the formal ruling, which is expected to be issued in the near future, and will work to ensure the final determination provides certainty to our local emergency organizations and the populations they protect."

Background:

Under the ACA’s employer mandate, volunteer organizations with 50 or more employees could be forced to provide health insurance or pay penalties. On December 11, 2013, Thompson and fellow House colleagues introduced the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act (H.R. 3685), which will ensure that emergency services volunteers are not counted as full-time employees under the ACA’s employer mandate.    

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS today announced plans to address how volunteer firefighting organizations will be treated under the ACA in forthcoming regulations, stating “final regulations relating to employer shared responsibility generally will not require volunteer hours of bona fide volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel at governmental or tax-exempt organizations to be counted when determining full-time employees (or full-time equivalents).”

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