Time Running Out for Georgians to Take Advantage of Rural Hospital Tax Credit

November 8, 2019 – In less time than it takes to read this article, Georgians can have a say in how their tax dollars are spent. Between now and December 31, 2019, Georgia taxpayers can donate what they owe on their 2019 state income tax to improve health care in their communities, thereby ensuring family and friends have access to quality care close to home.

For a limited time, the Georgia HEART (Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment) Hospital Tax Credit program allows taxpayers to redirect their 2019 payment to improve services at rural hospitals. Many rural hospitals struggle to stay open; the Georgia General Assembly enacted the tax credit to make taxpayers more aware of the challenges these hospitals face.

The program offers a state income tax credit to Georgia taxpayers and C-Corporations that donate funds through the program to hospital systems that qualify. Southeast Georgia Health System’s Camden Campus qualifies for this innovative program and has partnered with Georgia HEART to implement the program.

By donating what they would have paid toward state income tax to this program, taxpayers help rural hospitals, such as the Camden Campus, add new doctors, services and technologies. For every dollar donated, the taxpayer receives a 100% credit toward their state income tax bill.

The beauty of the program is that it allows taxpayers to keep their tax dollars close to home, where it benefits family, friends and themselves. It also allows rural hospitals to direct the donations to areas of greatest need. In 2019, the Health System directed some of the funds to update its mammography units with 3D mammography technology. It will also open a new Wound Care Center in the spring of 2020, thanks to donations.

This first come, first served program is only available until December 31st, so taxpayers must act soon to qualify for their 2019 tax credit. All that is necessary is to complete a brief application, found at sghs.org/ga-tax-credit or at georgiaheart.org. It’s an easy way to feel better about paying taxes, knowing that your dollars helped improve health care in your community.

“Rural hospitals like the Camden Campus fill a vital need. The Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit program is an excellent way to improve access to medical care and the quality of that care, without greatly impacting your household finances,” says Michael D. Scherneck, president and CEO, Southeast Georgia Health System.

“The Health System uses these donations to benefit people in the communities we serve. It allows us to purchase new surgical equipment, recruit new physicians and offer additional health programs and screenings to our community,” Scherneck says.

The Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit program makes $60 million of income tax credits available to Georgia taxpayers. Each qualified rural hospital has access to a maximum of $4 million of tax credits, until the total annual $60 million cap is met.

Individuals earn a 100% tax credit for their contributions. Originally, limits were placed on how much each person could donate. However, those caps have been lifted and individuals may donate up to their maximum state tax liability as long as the $60 million annual statewide cap has not been met.

Again, the program ends December 31st, so don’t delay. For more information on the Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit program, visit sghs.org/ga-tax-credit or the Georgia HEART website at www.georgiaheart.org.