Hospital CEO encourages public to help EMC through Georgia HEART Program


A healthy workforce is essential to a healthy economy, which is why preserving and protecting Emanuel Medical Center is imperative. Damien Scott, CEO of the local hospital, delivers an informative plea below asking members of the community to consider helping Emanuel Medical through Georgia’s HEART program.


Emanuel Medical Center opened in 1952. Today, the hospital is licensed for 72 acute care beds with 49-beds in its long-term care facility, Emanuel Nursing Home, and a 15-bed senior behavioral health unit that serves patients ages 55 and older with mental instability issues and helps manage social withdrawals, paranoia, aggressive or combative behaviors, agitation, recurrent thoughts of dying, or other comparable issues. Additionally, EMC has 10 clinics that serve Emanuel and surrounding counties for non-emergency conditions.


What the public may not know is that Emanuel Medical Center is one of 54 rural hospitals that qualify to participate in the Georgia HEART Hospital Program, which allows Georgia taxpayers to receive a state income tax credit for 100 percent of the amount they contribute to hospitals like the one on Kite Road.


Since the HEART program’s inception in 2017, Emanuel Medical Center has received $2,779,048.17 in contributions. These investments have helped the hospital remain open, update equipment and facilities, attract more doctors and nurses, and enhance the overall care provided to patients. For example, Emanuel Medical now has a state-of-the-art 3D mammogram machine, thanks to HEART dollars.


Yet, Scott says the need is still great—and through HEART, all members of the public can help.

The state of Georgia allows individuals and businesses to decide how their respective tax dollars are spent. By contributing to Emanuel Medical Center through HEART, donors transform their next tax payment into a life-changing and life-saving investment for the people of Emanuel County.


Also, there is a brand new benefit for pass-through businesses, allowing a state and local income tax limit (SALT) workaround, coupled with a more generous HEART tax credit opportunity during the first six months of the year, per Georgia HB 149.


Essentially, pass-through businesses may elect to pay state income tax at the entity level and may contribute to eligible rural hospitals through the HEART program at the same generous limits as C corporations, effective this year, which allows for a much more generous HEART tax credit opportunity in the first half of the year as the previous limit for that timeframe was $10,000.


On the federal level, through IRS Notice 2020-75 issued on November 9, 2020, the IRS allows for a “SALT workaround” for pass-through entities paying state income tax. This means the IRS allows for state and local income taxes imposed on and paid by a pass-through entity with respect to its income to be taken as a deduction by the pass-through entity in computing its taxable income or loss for the year. These taxes are not subject to the SALT limitation for partners and shareholders who itemize deductions.


Georgia’s HB 149, which the Georgia General Assembly passed during its 2021 legislative session, represents the state’s response to this IRS notice and provides that pass-through entities may make an annual election to pay the tax due on income earned by the entity at the entity level at the rate of 5.75 percent.


Further, HB 149 specifically provides that the electing entity is eligible for the Georgia HEART credit and will be treated as an “other entity” that is eligible for a credit in an amount up to 75 percent of the entity’s Georgia income tax liability. Additionally, the electing pass-through entity will not be required to claim any business purpose for the payment besides satisfying the entity’s Georgia tax liability.


In closing, Scott hopes community members will see this as a “win-win” and utilize the HEART program. It’s simple and fast to do so.


“I invite you to join me and my Emanuel Medical Center colleagues in ‘taking HEART’ this year. The process is easy and quick,” Scott said. “Just visit www.georgiaheart.org or contact Carmen Tanner at 478-289-1274 or cfagler@emanuelmedical.org to sign up to contribute for your 100 percent state income tax credit. This program is a win-win. Your participation will truly make an essential, positive, and lasting impact on our hospital and community.”

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