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Tax Credit Program

Lawmakers approve legislation to increase Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit

On March 30, the Georgia Senate gave final approval to SB 180, which the House of Representatives had already passed. If Governor Nathan Deal signs SB 180 (or it otherwise becomes law), effective retroactive to January 1, 2017, as it relates to the rural hospital organization expense tax credit, the legislation:

1. Increases from 70% to 90% the portion of each contribution to eligible rural hospitals that qualifies for a Georgia income tax credit, up to certain maximums;

2. Increases from $2,500 to $5,000 the maximum credit allowable to individual taxpayers for their contributions;

3. Increases from $5,000 to $10,000 the maximum credit available to married taxpayers for their contributions;

4. Adopts the same $60 million annual maximum cap on rural hospital organization tax credits for 2017, 2018, and 2019;

5. Requires rural hospitals to report to the Department of Community Health any payments made to a third party to solicit, administer, or manage the donations received by the hospitals;

6. Prohibits any third party from charging an administration fee in excess of 3% of contributions; and

7. For purposes of determining whether a hospital qualifies as a rural hospital organization, includes within the definition of a rural county, those counties having a population of less than 50,000.

The passage of SB 180 is great news for Georgia's rural hospitals and we congratulate all of those who were responsible for this legislative effort, which should have an immediate positive impact on the program.

Also, the Georgia Department of Revenue announced that it will be providing guidance on how contributions to rural hospital organizations made earlier in 2017 will be treated under SB 180.

To sign up to contribute to your qualified rural hospital, follow these steps:

1) Complete and submit your 2017 HEART Tax Credit Form in the Donate Section at www.georgiaheart.org, or click here to download, print and mail a completed copy of the form to Georgia HEART at 3740 Davinci Court, Peachtree Corners, Georgia 30092.

2) On the first business day of 2017, Georgia HEART will submit your tax credit pre-approval form on your behalf to the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR).

3) Within 60 days of receiving DOR tax credit pre-approval, send a check made payable to your designated rural hospital to Georgia HEART for deposit to the hospital's account.

4) Georgia HEART will send you confirmation of your contribution and instruct you on how to submit a copy to the DOR.

5) Georgia HEART will send you a tax receipt and filing instructions for 2017 tax filing purposes.

For information about the rural hospital organization expense tax credit, please visit the Georgia HEART website at www.georgiaheart.org or contact Georgia HEART staff at heart@georgiaheart.org.

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