Representatives of Elbert Memorial Hospital and Georgia HEART, a consulting company assisting with the marketing and administration of the tax credit program, held a series of informational meetings to discuss the 2017 Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program. The Georgia State Legislature passed into law the Rural Hospital State Tax Program. This program will begin in 2017 and end in 2019. It was designed specifically to benefit rural hospitals.
Beginning January 1, 2017, individuals and businesses who contribute to Elbert Memorial Hospital will be able to take a credit against their Georgia income taxes in the amount of 70% of their contributions (up to certain limits). Plus, donors who itemize their deductions will be able to take an income tax deduction on their Federal tax returns. Elbert Memorial Hospital would be allotted up to $4 million of donor tax credits in each of the three years of the program. The hospital has retained Georgia HEART to assist with the marketing and administration of the tax credit program.
In the first meeting, Jim Kelly, Founder and General Counsel of Georgia HEART, presented to certified public accountants (CPAs) and attorneys from the Elberton, Hartwell and Athens areas, who will be advising their clients about the opportunity to support Elbert Memorial Hospital, and at the same time, receive a tax credit to reduce their Georgia income tax liability. “We recognize that CPAs and accountants are critical partners in spreading the good news about this opportunity, as their clients trust their advice about new tax-advantaged charitable giving strategies,” said Kelly.
Next, Kelly and Elbert Memorial Hospital CEO Brandon Clary explained to local business leaders the financial and demographic challenges rural hospitals are facing and the uses to which the hospital plans to put the anticipated contributions.
“This looks like an attractive opportunity for our Association and its members to support the hospital until longer term solutions are developed for rural hospitals in Georgia,” said Chris Kubas, Executive Vice President of Elberton Granite Association, Inc. Under the program, corporations can receive a tax credit for 70% of their hospital contribution up to a maximum of 75% of their Georgia income tax liability, which could result in significant financial support for Elbert Memorial Hospital.
Hospital CEO Brandon Clary, Hospital Chief Financial Officer Kelly Cox, Elbert Memorial Hospital Foundation Executive Director Nancy Seymour, and other hospital staff met to develop a strategy for a three year Georgia Rural Tax Credit campaign. According to Seymour, “A three-year Rural Tax Credit Campaign is the best opportunity for our existing donor community to support some important needs at Elbert Memorial Hospital beyond those funded by our annual giving campaign and special events.”
Finally, during a working lunch meeting of the Elbert Memorial Hospital Foundation Board and Young Professionals Advisory Board, Jim Kelly explained the important role that the Foundation should play in overseeing the implementation of the tax credit opportunity.
“Even though contributions are made directly to the hospital, not the Foundation, we anticipate working in a seamless partnership with the hospital executive team,” concluded Foundation Chair Chris Smith. “As the contributions will help address the financial challenges our hospital and so many other rural hospitals are facing, it makes complete sense to take a team approach to the program.”
Those interested in supporting Elbert Memorial Hospital in exchange for a federal income tax deduction and Georgia income tax credit can reserve their portion of the tax credits by completing a simple one-page Georgia HEART 2017 Tax Credit Form in the Donate section the HEART website at www.georgiaheart.org. In January, Jim Kelly and his staff will submit those requests for a Georgia tax credit to the Georgia Department of Revenue, which has 30 days to approve the request. Once approved, donors will have 60 days to contribute to Elbert Memorial Hospital in exchange for their tax credits.
More information about the Georgia Rural Tax Credit Campaign is available on the HEART website, www.georgiaheart.org. Interested donors may also contact Nancy Seymour at 706-213-2558 at the Elbert Memorial Hospital Foundation.