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Yesterday, the Georgia Senate passed SB 180, which, on March 28, by a Committee Substitute, the Georgia House had passed. Assuming Governor Nathan Deal signs SB 180 (or it otherwise becomes law), effective January 1, 2017, as it relates to the rural hospital organization expense tax credit, the legislation:
1. Increases from 70% to 90% the portion of each contribution to eligible rural hospitals that qualifies for a Georgia income tax credit, up to certain maximums;
2. Increases from $2,500 to $5,000 the maximum credit allowable to individual taxpayers for their contributions;
3. Increases from $5,000 to $10,000 the maximum credit available to married taxpayers for their contributions;
4. Adopts the same $60 million annual maximum cap on rural hospital organization tax credits for 2017, 2018, and 2019;
5. Requires rural hospitals to report to the Department of Community Health any payments made to a third party to solicit, administer, or manage the donations received by the hospitals;
6. Prohibits any third party from charging an administration fee in excess of 3% of contributions; and
7. For purposes of determining whether a hospital qualifies as a rural hospital organization, includes within the definition of a rural county, those counties having a population of less than 50,000.
The passage of SB 180 is great news for Georgia's rural hospitals and we congratulate all of those who were responsible for this legislative effort, which should have an immediate positive impact on the program. Yesterday, the Georgia Department of Revenue informed us that it will be providing guidance on how contributions to rural hospital organizations made earlier in 2017 will be treated under SB 180.

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