Georgia HEART is helping hospitals and donors enhance access to rural health care through the rural hospital organization expense tax credit


In 2016, the Georgia legislature adopted (effective January 1, 2017) a state income tax credit program designed to encourage Georgians to contribute to qualified rural hospital organizations.


About Georgia HEART 

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. On May 8, 2017, Governor Deal signed SB 180, an amendment to the SB 258 Georgia Rural Hospital Organization Expense tax credit that, effective retroactively to January 1, 2017, enhances the original legislation.

To assist them with the marketing and administration of the RHO expense tax credit program, most qualified RHOs are participating in the Georgia HEART Hospital Program, which Helps Enhance Access to Rural Healthcare.

In each of 2017, 2018, and 2019, the Georgia RHO expense tax credit program makes available to Georgia taxpayers $60 million of income tax credits, with each qualified RHO having access to $4 million of tax credits (until the total annual $60 million cap is met). The following limits apply with respect to contributions that taxpayers make to qualified RHOs:

  • In the case of a single individual or a head of household, 90 percent of the actual amount expended or $5,000 per tax year, whichever is less; or
  •  In the case of a married couple filing a joint return, 90 percent of the actual amount expended or $10,000 per tax year, whichever is less.

A “C” Corporation or Trust may receive a 90 percent tax credit on contributions, up to a limit of 75 percent of the entity’s Georgia income tax liability.

The owners of interests in pass-through entities, such as “S” corporations, limited liability companies, or partnerships are limited to the tax credit maximums that apply to their status as individual or married taxpayers.

To receive a tax credit for their contributions, taxpayers must file for pre-approval with the Georgia Department of Revenue and, within 60 days of being approved, make their contributions to their designated qualified rural hospital organizations.

Participation in the RHO expense tax credit 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 49 RHOs, 41 of which are participating in Georgia HEART. Each year, a list of the Georgia HEART RHOs, listed by financial need as determined by DCH, is available here. In cooperation with a “HEARTMonitor” appointed by each rural hospital organization, the Georgia HEART Hospital Program provides an efficient and effective means of educating taxpayers about this exciting opportunity and processing their contributions in support of rural health care.

Learn more about the Georgia HEART tax credit:
PGH Georgia HEART Program Tax Credit Info – August 2017