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Lawmakers Enhance Rural Hospital Tax Credit Opportunity

Since the first day of 2017, Georgia taxpayers have had the opportunity to receive a Georgia income tax credit for up to 70% of the amounts they contribute to their favorite rural hospitals, including Union General Hospital. During this year’s session of the Georgia General Assembly, lawmakers made the rural hospital organization expense tax credit even better. Beginning retroactively to January 1, up to certain maximums, taxpayers can receive a Georgia income tax credit for 90% of the amounts they contribute to qualified rural hospitals.

Under the SB 180 amendment, individual taxpayers can receive a tax credit for 90% of their contributions, up to a maximum credit of $5,000 (formerly $2,500). Married couples filing a joint income tax return can receive a tax credit for 90% of their contributions, up to a maximum credit of $10,000 (formerly $5,000). Meanwhile, “C” corporations can receive a tax credit for 90% of their contributions, up to a maximum of 75% of their Georgia income tax liability.

Each year, during 2017, 2018, and 2019, taxpayers will have access to a $60 million pool of credits, with donors to each rural hospital having access to up to $4 million of credits each year until the annual $60 million cap is reached.

“We are very pleased and appreciative that Georgia lawmakers understood the importance to our rural hospitals and communities of the success of this innovative program,” said Lewis Kelley, CEO of Union General Hospital. “Earlier in the year, we were a bit concerned about taxpayer interest in contributing to our hospital for a 70% tax credit; however, the increase to 90% is a game-changer.”

Union General Hospital is one of 40 rural hospitals that are participating in the Georgia HEART Hospital Program, which provides marketing and administrative services to qualified hospitals. “Georgia HEART makes it incredibly easy for our donors to get pre-approved for the credit and make their donation and for our hospital to keep track of contribution activity,” explained Lewis Kelley. SB 180 caps the Georgia HEART administrative charges to 3% of contributions received by the participating hospitals.

In essence, under the enhanced rural hospital tax credit, by contributing to Union General Hospital in exchange for a 90% tax credit, Georgia taxpayers can pay substantially all of their Georgia income taxes (up to the maximum amounts stated above). As explained by Lewis Kelley, “We are confident that the citizens of the North Georgia area would rather help us meet the financial needs and improve the long-term sustainability of their local hospital than send their money to Atlanta for unknown general uses.”

Pending the Governor Nathan Deal’s signing of SB 180 and the Department of Revenue’s publication of revised rules and contribution processes; donors interested in contributing to Union General Hospital for a 90% tax credit can complete the tax credit pre-approval form that is located in the Donate section of the Georgia HEART website at georgiaheart.org. Once, as expected, SB 180 becomes law and DOR processes are in place, Georgia HEART will submit the pre-approval form to the DOR for approval and the contribution process will begin.

Anyone who has questions regarding this exciting opportunity to support Union General Hospital should contact Leslie Daniel at mchf@uniongeneral.org or 706-745-2050.