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As the saying goes, death and taxes are inevitable. A large percentage of the taxes we pay go to fund federal and state projects; with a very limited amount actually making it all the way back home. Recently, legislators, with Governor Nathan Deal, modified a tax program that is actually helping us bring a fair amount of State of Georgia taxes back home after rural citizens expressed concerns. The Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit awards Georgia income tax credits to individual and corporate taxpayers who contribute to qualified rural hospitals organizations (RHOs) located in Georgia. With the goal of enhancing access to rural healthcare, this program is already making a big difference.
A program known as the Georgia HEART Hospital Program was established with the sole purpose of assisting hospitals with the administration of this tax credit. Hospital participation is limited to certain rural, Georgia hospitals that meet criteria established by the law, such as population, acceptance of Medicaid and Medicare, and uncompensated care. There are currently 58 hospitals qualified throughout the state, of which 52 are currently participating in Georgia HEART.
The Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit has enabled Georgia businesses and taxpayers to redirect their Georgia income tax liability to help support these qualified hospitals. This tax credit allows Georgians to donate up to $60 million, per year, for rural Georgia hospitals. Each hospital has access to up to $4 million of tax credits (until total annual $60 million cap is met). Georgia taxpayers who donate to this program receive a direct tax credit from the State of Georgia when filing their taxes the following year. This tax credit was recently increased to 100 percent, thanks to HB 769 that Governor Nathan Deal signed May 2 of this year. This increase is expected to go into effect on July 1 and will apply to previous donations in 2018, provided the relevant caps are not met. The tax credit was 90 percent before HB 769.
Coffee Regional Medical Center has partnered with the Georgia HEART Hospital Program to assist in the management of these donations. Those wishing to participate must go online to www.georgiaheart.org and complete an online application, indicating the amount you wish to donate and listing Coffee Regional Medical Center as the designated recipient. The application may also be printed and faxed for submission. The application must pass through a process, and, once it is approved, in 30 days or less, the donor will receive a letter informing them of acceptance. Once you receive that letter, your designated donation must be submitted back to Georgia Heart within 60 days.
"The Rural Hospital Tax Credit allows both businesses and individuals to assure their tax dollars are spent at home," said Vicki Lewis, CEO of Coffee Regional Medical Center. "CRMC will invest every dollar donated to the services, equipment and structure of our hospital to assure we can fulfill our mission and purpose to provide healthcare for our community"
Donations made to CRMC under the rural hospital tax credit will be used to grow vital healthcare services for our region. These services include cardiology, mother & baby, oncology care & services, and orthopedic care & surgical services.
Remember, these are dollars already spent, already deducted from your paycheck in the form of Georgia taxes. You now have a voice in where that money goes. Help Coffee Regional Medical Center Bring it Home!
Visit www.georgiaheart.org and fill out your application online today. For more information speak with your tax professional or visit the FAQ section at www.georgiaheart.org. The application is also available online at www.coffeeregional.org/foundation.