Camillus Fire Department Had Lost Tax-Exempt Status Which Prevented Dept. From Competing For Federal Grants & Accepting Tax-Free Contributions From Local Residents – Major $13,000 Donation Will Now Be Allowed To Go Through

After Push From Schumer, IRS Expedites Reinstatement Of Tax Exempt Status – Move Will Boost Public Safety & Give Firefighters The Tools They Need To Stay Safe On The Job

Schumer: Decision Will Help Camillus FD Keep Local Residents Safe


Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has heeded his call and approved the Camillus Volunteer Fire Department’s request for retroactive reinstatement of not-for-profit status that the volunteer department previously held. This status is critical to the viability of the department and its ability to continue to provide life-saving emergency services to Central New Yorkers, because this tax-exempt status plays a major role in the level of public donations and contributions that the department receives, along with funds necessary to support operations. After the Camillus Fire Department lost its tax-exempt status because of technical paperwork issues, Schumer urged the IRS to prioritize the safety and security of local residents and the community’s infrastructure by immediately approving Camillus Volunteer Fire Department’s application for not-for-profit status.


Schumer’s push was also made in an effort to allow the department to cash a substantial donation in the amount of $13,000, a large amount of money that until today, sat in limbo. With the IRS reversing course, retroactively reinstating the Department’s not-for-profit status dating back to November 21, 2011, Camillus can accept the $13,000 donation and continue to support their overall operations.


“Losing their tax exempt status had the Camillus Fire Department caught in a bind, unable to apply for federal grants and raise private funds from thoughtful citizens who wanted to make sure the firefighters had the tools they need to stay safe,” said Schumer. “That’s why I went to bat for them with the IRS. No firefighter should ever be sent into a blaze without the necessary equipment to stay safe, so I’m thrilled that the IRS has reversed course and given Camillus their proper status back. This decision will help the Department compete for federal funds and should be a boost to their fundraising as well. Our first responders have our back every day, and it’s my job to make sure the federal government has theirs.”


“The Camillus Fire Department is grateful for the time and effort Senator Schumer devoted to helping us get our not-for-profit status back,” said Camillus Chief, Doug Groesbeck. “It feels good to know that when the firefighters need help, there’s someone there ready to answer our call. This reinstated status will allow us to utilize donations and purchase life-saving equipment that keeps the residents of Camillus safe and sound.”  

Schumer was a strong supporter of the Camillus Volunteer Fire Department in their original application for not-for-profit status, and in January, Schumer called on the IRS to swiftly reconsider their recent denial of the expedited application for tax-exempt status that is critical for the operation of the fire department. Without not-for-profit status, any future donations or public contributions made to the Camillus Volunteer Fire Department would have been at risk, and these donations are critical to helping fund emergency services along with the purchase of fire-fighting equipment. After losing their not for profit status, the fire department was unable to purchase critical oxygen tanks. In addition, had the IRS not retroactively reinstated the not-for-profit status in the immediate future, contributions that the department had already received could have been returned to donors. Retroactively reinstating the not for profit status, as the IRS did today, will enable the Camillus FD to keep the donations they had previously accepted.


The Camillus Volunteer Fire Department has provided critical emergency services to Central New York since 1909, and department is made up of volunteers who are trained in both fire and EMS services.