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State income tax credit pumps crucial funds to rural hospitals
Georgia HEART logo

RINCON — Monday is a key day for Georgia taxpayers to help themselves and rural hospitals in the state.

Starting at 9 a.m., Georgia HEART will begin to take applications for the next tax year. The program uniquely empowers Georgians with the opportunity pay their state income taxes through contributions to eligible rural hospitals. 

Rural hospitals have been facing a financial crisis for many years due to demographic, economic and health care industry challenges. This crisis jeopardizes the access of rural Georgians to adequate health care.

“Ameris Bank realizes the financial struggles that rural hospitals go through and feel they are a vital component to our local communities,” said Jamie DeLoach, a business banker at Rincon’s Ameris location. “Ameris Bank has continued to donate to rural hospitals around the state and are glad to help out local communities that they serve.”

DeLoach is in a unique position to appreciate the impact of Georgia HEART. He is a member of the Effingham Health System Foundation.

Last year, Effingham Health System used Georgia HEART funds to upgrade its aging air filtration system. This led to a safer, more comfortable environment for patients and staff.

“I personally feel when a rural hospital is able to achieve its goals it helps support a growing community by providing great healthcare to all ages and provides good health care to a company’s employees that may be looking to move to Effingham County,” he said.

In 2022, Georgia taxpayers consumed the $60 million in available rural hospital tax credits by July 1. The General Assembly increased the 2023 cap to $75 million. It is very likely, however, that all credits will be consumed even earlier in 2023. 

Credits are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so it is important to submit your Georgia HEART tax credit pre-application this fall.

Mia Thompson originated the request for Renasant Bank’s HEART participation. She is the market president at the Rincon branch.

“In the bank’s mind set, yes, we are helping within the community — we are helping the citizens of Effingham County — but we are getting a tax credit,” Thompson said. “That’s why we choose to give us much as we do.”

Renasant Bank presented a $50,000 check to Effingham Health System in July and it has donated $100,000 over the last two years. Renasant Bank will donate a total of $250,000 to five rural hospitals this year, Thompson said.

Thompson approached high-ranking Renasant Bank officials about participating in the program after learning about it from Effingham Health System officials.

“The bank looks at it as partnering with a local hospital that helps the citizens,” she said. “That’s where the drive comes from in the aspect of my market, which is Springfield and Rincon. The company does benefit but, in my mind, I pushed Renasant because of the citizens.”

Thompson, her family and Rincon Renasant Bank employees use Effingham Health System.

“They think it’s wonderful,” she said. “It speaks to me on a personal level.”

If you pay Georgia income taxes, you are eligible to receive a 100 percent state income tax credit for contributing to a rural hospital as follows:

— Individual filer (up to $5,000)

— Married filing separately (up to $5,000)

— Married filing jointly (up to $10,000)

— C corporation, trust or pass-through entity electing to pay tax at entity level (up to 75 percent of annual Georgia tax liability)

— Individual owner of S-Corp, LLC or partnership (pass-through entity) NOT paying tax at entity level (up to $10,000)

 It’s easy. Follow the steps outlined below:

— Apply now: Submit your 2023 HEART Tax Credit Form beginning Monday at 9 a.m. Georgia HEART will submit your application to the Georgia Department of Revenue on the first business day of January 2023 in the order in which it is received.

— Make payment: Pay via check or ACH to Georgia HEART by your payment deadline (within 180 days of approval notification).

Take Credit: Georgia HEART will send you a tax receipt for claiming the credit on your 2023 Georgia income tax return.

 For more information, visit or contact the Georgia HEART team at