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Contributions to Sacred Heart, Good Samaritan Hospitals qualify for state tax credit program

ATHENS, Ga. – May 31, 2018 – Georgia taxpayers can now receive 100 percent state tax credit when they contribute to designated rural hospitals – including St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital in Lavonia and St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Greensboro – through the expanded Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program.

Under the expanded Georgia HEART program for rural hospitals, taxpayers receive 100 percent credit on their state taxes for contributions of up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for married couples. Pass-through entities such as corporations can also receive credit for 100 percent of the amount contributed, up to $10,000 or 75 percent of the corporation or trust’s income tax liability, so long as they would have paid Georgia income tax in that amount on their share of taxable income.

In addition, those who itemize on their federal income tax returns can claim Georgia HEART contributions as charitable deductions.

Time is of the essence for taxpayers who wish to contribute. Cue to the popularity of the increased 100 percent credit value, the program is expected to reach the legal maximum of $60 million on or around July 1.

Because this is a tax credit, the contribution is applied directly against the amount the taxpayer owes in state taxes. So, if a married couple gives $10,000 to a designated rural hospital, the actual amount of Georgia income tax they will owe is reduced by $10,000. Participating taxpayers must receive approval in advance from the Department of Revenue and must make their contribution directly to the hospital in order to receive the credit. These steps can be completed through the Georgia HEART program or in conjunction with the taxpayer’s financial advisor.

The program is designed to provide vital funding for rural hospitals in Georgia, many of which are facing major financial challenges. The law creates a pool of up to $60 million in tax credits for each year through 2021 – with each of 52 eligible hospitals having access to up to $4 million per year.

“We are very pleased that Georgia lawmakers understand the importance of our rural hospitals to the communities we serve and the vital need for this innovative program,” said Montez Carter, President and CEO of St. Mary’s Health Care System. “We are especially appreciative that lawmakers increased the tax credit from 90 percent to 100 percent. This increase is a game-changer that will inspire many more people to help.”

Good Samaritan Hospital President Tanya Adcock noted that there is a competitive element built into the law. Because of the $60 million limit on annual credits, it is important for people to act quickly to ensure the hospital they want to support does not miss out.

“Tax credits are approved on a first-come, first-served basis, and when the overall cap is reached, the window of opportunity closes for that year,” Adcock said. “That’s why it’s important for people who want to help our hospitals to act before July 1, if possible. Once the state hits that $60 million cap, the program ends for this year.”

Sacred Heart Hospital President Jeff English also noted that each individual hospital potentially can receive up to $4 million per year. “That kind of money would be a tremendous shot in the arm for any hospital,” he said, “but since there are 52 eligible hospitals and a $60 million total cap, only a few hospitals can reach that level, and many hospitals will receive a lot less.”

Any Georgia taxpayer can give to any eligible hospital, so contributions to Sacred Heart and Good Samaritan could come from anyone, anywhere, who owes Georgia income taxes.

“Part of the idea of the legislation is that people in cities like Atlanta, Athens and Augusta will step up to help hospitals in smaller communities, especially if they have connections there such as family, friends or vacation destinations,” English said.

Contributions to St. Mary’s Good Samaritan and Sacred Heart hospitals will be used to:

  • Maintain the facilities in excellent condition and allow for growth to meet their community’s changing needs
  • Continue to acquire modern new technology to provide state-of-the-art services locally
  • Continue to build access to services not routinely found in rural communities, such as nuclear medicine and 3D mammography
  • Support the growing demands of both hospitals’ 24/7 Emergency Departments so that quality care is always available when time is critical
  • Expand telemedicine capabilities, such as the REACH telestroke system, so that the hospitals can connect patients to physician specialists through technology, reducing the need for transfers.

Giving is easy through the Georgia HEART website at www.georgiaheart.org, where taxpayers who want to help can now complete the tax credit application form and request an estimate of the net after-tax benefit cost of contributing to a participating Georgia HEART hospital. Taxpayers can also find projections of the tax effects and possible savings at https://tinyurl.com/RHOtaxeffect.

For more information, please contact Lauren Papka at St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital at 706.356.7800 or lpapka@stmaryssacredheart.org, or Beth Patrick at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital at 706.453.5187 or epatrick@stmarysgoodsam.org.

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