The Georgia HEART Hospital Program is helping rural and critical access hospitals take advantage of an exciting new opportunity to increase their funding and their ability to provide for the health care needs of thousands of Georgians!
For many years, due to demographic, economic, and health care industry challenges, Georgia’s rural hospitals have been facing a financial crisis. This crisis jeopardizes the access of rural Georgians to adequate health care.
In response, in 2016, the Georgia General Assembly passed, and Governor Nathan Deal signed into law, Senate Bill (“SB”) 258, legislation that, effective January 1, 2017, awards Georgia income tax credits to individual and corporate taxpayers who contribute to qualified rural hospital organizations (“RHOs”) located in Georgia.
Participation in the Georgia HEART program is limited to Georgia rural hospitals that meet qualification criteria established in the law, including county population size (50,000 or less, excluding military personnel); tax-exempt status or public hospital authority management; acceptance of Medicare and Medicaid; and minimum annual provision of indigent or uncompensated care. In order to qualify, rural hospitals have to file a five-year plan with the Georgia Department of Community Health (“DCH”). Presently, the DCH has qualified 58 RHOs, 58 of which are participating in Georgia HEART. View a list of participating HEART hospitals.
From 2018 through 2021, Georgia taxpayers can access $60 million of RHO tax credits each year, with each qualified RHO having access to $4 million of tax credits (until the total annual $60 million cap is met). During the first six months of each year, a qualified RHO may only accept $2 million of corporate contributions and $2 million of individual contributions.
From January 1 through June 30 of each taxable year, the following limits apply with respect to Georgia HEART RHO contributions:
- In the case of a single individual or a head of household, a 100% Georgia income tax credit for contributions to RHOs, up to a limit of $5,000;
- In the case of a married couple filing a joint return, a 100% Georgia income tax credit for contributions to RHOs, up to a limit of $10,000; and
An individual who is a member of a limited liability company, shareholder of an "S" Corporation, or partner in a partnership (pass-through entities) is allowed a 100% Georgia income tax credit for up to $10,000 of the amount they contribute to a RHO, so long as they would have paid Georgia income tax in that amount on their share of taxable income from the pass-through entity
After June 30 of each year, for so long as a portion of the $60 million annual cap on RHO tax credits is available, to offset their Georgia income tax liability, individual taxpayers may make unlimited contributions to RHOs for a corresponding 100% Georgia income tax credit.
On or before May 15 of each year through June 30, individual taxpayers will be able to make a HEART Appointment to authorize Georgia HEART to submit their post-June 30 tax credit pre-approval forms with the DOR.
A “C” Corporation or trust shall be allowed a 100% Georgia income tax credit for contributions to RHOs equal to the amount of the contribution, or 75 percent of the corporation's or trust’s income tax liability, whichever is less.
For more information on this tax credit opportunity, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the HEART website.