ATLANTA The ceiling for the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship Program was reached last week as applications for millions of dollars in pledges were being processed by the Georgia Department of Revenue.
The program provides a dollar-for-dollar tax credit to individuals and corporations who donate funds earmarked for use by a specific school. The school then uses the money to set aside special financial aid for public school students who want to enroll in private schools.
“More people are aware that this is an option and are taking advantage of it,” said Jud Seymour, a spokesman for the Department of Revenue.
The cap was reached nearly two months before the Dec. 31 postmark deadline, cutting off schools still trying to raise money for scholarships and taxpayers slow to submit applications for tax credits. As a result, some schools could raise less money and have fewer scholarships to share with public school students.
The Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program, the largest of the student scholarship organizations that raise funds through the tax-credit program to go to private schools, took in $8 million in 2010 during the last two months of the year. The nonprofit has raised $12 million so far in 2011, and donations are still coming in.
“People like to do this as close to the end of the year as possible because when they file their tax return they get the money back as a refund,” said Lisa Kelly, president of Georgia GOAL, which is still waiting to hear whether $1.5 million in pledges last week made the cutoff. “They can’t part with that money too far in advance.”
The cap will increase slightly with the rate of inflation in 2012. Maximum contributions are $1,000 for an individual and $2,500 for a couple; corporations can claim up to 75 percent of their tax liability.