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Georgia Taxpayers Can Lower Their Tax Bills While Supporting Phoebe Sumter

Americus, Ga. – Donations are now being accepted through the Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment (HEART) program to benefit Phoebe Sumter. This is the first year Georgia taxpayers can get a significant break on their income tax returns in exchange for a donation to support a qualified rural hospital. “State lawmakers recognized the unique challenges rural hospitals are facing in these uncertain times in healthcare, and they came up with the HEART tax credit program as a way to help those hospitals continue to offer critical services in their communities,” said Brandi Lunneborg, Phoebe Sumter CEO.

Phoebe Sumter in Americus, Phoebe Worth in Sylvester and Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center in Cuthbert are qualified rural hospital organizations (RHOs) through the program. Each RHO could have access to up to $4 million dollars in tax credits each year for the next three years. “That money does not rollover, so if we don’t come close to that limit each year, we are essentially missing out on money that could help Phoebe Sumter meet the healthcare needs of people in our service area,” Lunneborg said.

Donor dollars recently funded the purchase of a new 3-D mammography unit at Phoebe Sumter which is now providing more detailed and accurate mammograms for patients. “That’s the kind of purchase donations to the HEART program will fund right here in Americus,” Lunneborg said. “Donations will also help us expand primary and specialty care services throughout our region and recruit and retain outstanding physicians so more patients can stay here at home for their treatment.”

On top of their normal federal charitable donation deduction, individual and joint filers can receive a tax credit equal to 90% of their HEART donation, with a credit limit of $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for couples. Corporations and trusts also receive the 90% percent credit on a limit of 75% of their income tax liability.

Citizens Bank of Americus recently made a generous donation through the rural tax program.

“Phoebe Sumter is a tremendous asset to this community,” said bank President & CEO Rick Whaley. “At Citizens Bank of Americus, we want to do all we can to make sure our community hospital continues to thrive and grow to meet the healthcare needs of people in Sumter and surrounding counties. The rural tax credit is an outstanding way to help Phoebe Sumter while providing significant tax relief to donors. We encourage other individuals and organizations in and around Americus to take advantage of this unique opportunity,” Whaley added.

Under the current legislation, the tax credit will be available for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 tax years. The deadline to apply for the tax credit on 2017 income tax returns is Nov. 1, 2017. Find more information on the HEART program and how to donate at

PHOTO: Phoebe Sumter’s new digital breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) unit