New law boosts Georgia HEART Tax Credit

The tax credit for making a charitable donation to rural hospitals in Georgia just got a significant boost, but you may want to act quickly to take full advantage of the benefits.

The Georgia HEART Hospital Program, which came into effect the first of 2017, awards Georgia income tax credits to individual and corporate taxpayers who contribute to qualified rural hospital organizations in the state.

Earlier this month, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 769, which increases the credit to 100 percent of the donation made.

After July 1, the contribution caps of $5,000 and $10,000 are eliminated, making the opportunity to donate to a rural hospital even more worthwhile. In other words, a donation of any amount made after July 1 will receive a 100 percent credit.

Time is of the essence, though. The Georgia Regional Hospital Organization tax credit is capped each year at $60 million, with each qualified hospital having access to $4 million of tax credits until the total annual cap is met.

The credit had been limited to 90 percent of the amount contributed – up to $5,000 per tax year for individual filers or $10,000 for married filing jointly taxpayers, whichever is less. This meant that taxpayers who wanted to receive a credit for the maximum credit would have to contribute $5,556 for single filers or $11,111 for married filers.

According to the state Department of Revenue, on July 1, 2018, and provided the relevant caps have not been reached, any individual donor that made or makes a donation from Jan. 1, 2018, until June 30, 2018, will be allowed 100 percent of the donation that was used to arrive at the amount of credit allowed during that period.

To receive a tax credit for contributions, you must file for pre-approval with the Georgia Department of Revenue and, within 60 days of being approved, make your contribution. These applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until the $60 million annual cap is met.

The application can be found by clicking “Make a HEART Appointment” at GeorgiaHeart.org. This application asks for a contribution amount and gives the taxpayer the option to select a hospital from the list of participating hospitals or to let Georgia HEART select a hospital to receive your donation.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a letter from Georgia HEART. If you have been approved, you will have 60 days to submit your payment.

We recommend that you pre-apply immediately to get the process started as close to July 1 as possible.

We will be happy to assist you in completing the form and advising you of a maximum contribution amount.

Please contact Nina Daigle if you have any questions about this credit.