ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JANET HAMOUS
Hillsboro Community Medical Center has been awarded $250,000 in Community Service Tax Credits from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing.
The funds will be used to make the facility, particularly the front entrance area, handicapped accessible.
HCMC is one of 26 nonprofit organizations in Kansas to receive a total of $4.13 million in credits and one of only two organizations to receive the maximum award.
Ninety-two organizations applied for the tax credit program.
“This was an extremely competitive process,” said Michael Ryan, HCMC chief executive officer.
The income tax credits are awarded to community organizations that provide services for children and families, health care, or crime prevention, and they are used as a fund-raising tool.
Ryan said businesses and individuals that contribute to HCMC under this program will be given a tax credit that may be used to reduce state tax liability. Because HCMC is located in a rural area, the contributor is eligible for a 70 percent state tax credit.
“Say they donated $10,000, we would award them a tax credit of 70 percent, or $7,000,” Ryan said. “Then if they owed $7000 in taxes, they wouldn’t have to pay that.”
“It’s a tremendous way to keep those tax funds at work in your community instead of sending them off to Topeka,” he said.
When a business or individual writes a check to HCMC, they are given a tax credit form to submit with their Kansas tax return.
The donation may also reduce the contributor’s federal tax liability.
“That same $10,000 contribution can be used on the federal tax return as a $10,000 charitable deduction,” Ryan said. “If you are in a 25 percent tax bracket, that saves you $2,500. So the bottom line is a $10,000 contribution would only cost you $500.”
Ryan said the program began July 1 and runs for 18 months or until all the credits have been sold.
He expects the credits to go fast.
“I would imagine this would be fully subscribed within a few weeks,” he said. “But if we don’t award all our tax credits this year, we could award some next year. This a actually a two-year program.”
Ryan said he already has preliminary commitments for about $158,000 of the credits.
“Before we sent the application in, the state wanted to see that we were serious about this and that we could award the tax credits that we received, so we contacted several businesses,” he said.
Ryan will be contacting the businesses that made a preliminary commitment, and he invites other businesses and individuals who are interested in the program to contact him or chief financial officer Marion Regier.
People should contact a tax professional with any tax related questions, Ryan said.
“They’re very familiar with this program. It’s on the up and up,” he said.
Ryan said the minimum contribution is $250, and there is no maximum.
“It’s a pain-free way for a business or individual to contribute to the hospital,” he said. “If you have a large state tax liability, you may as well contribute to us as send it off to Topeka.”
The funds received through the program are earmarked for improvements to make the hospital more accessible.
“On our hospital front entrance you have to come up steps,” Ryan said. “A hospital should have a handicapped-accessible entrance. We’ll have a ramp and automated doors, a nice lobby area, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible restrooms at the front entrance and an ADA-accessible counter at the admissions desk where you can come up in a wheelchair.”
Ryan said work on the project will begin as soon as funds start coming in.
“I’m starting to talk with an architect and contractors, but I really can’t sign contracts with them until I have funds available to do the job,” he said.
“Now that we’ve been approved for the program, I have to solicit those contributions and get those in house before I can really start doing the construction project.”
Ryan is excited to begin the project and is pleased that HCMC received such a large award the first time it applied for the program.
“This is going to be a tremendous improvement and a benefit for the whole community,” he said. “It’s going to make access to the hospital more convenient for all community members-not just those in wheelchairs.”