Keeping taxes in our own community is the GOAL
|Wildwood students help kick off the 2013 GOAL Scholarship campaign.|
By Darlaine Ward
It may be surprising to learn that Georgia has a unique tax vehicle allowing individuals and corporations to redirect a portion of their Georgia state income taxes to benefit children in Pickens and Dawson counties.
With tax season on our minds, we are reminded about how much money we each pay in state income taxes and what little say we have in who reaps the benefits. As Pickens and Dawson county residents, we may agree we would like to have more of our taxes support our own communities and local programs.
In 2008, Georgia introduced a law allowing up to $50 million in education tax credits to be set aside for qualifying students to receive scholarships to attend approved, private schools. Wildwood Christian Academy (WCA), located in Pickens County, is one of these schools.
In 2012, the $50 million cap was met in August, and any contribution that came in after that date was denied. This year, the GOAL Scholarship organization is estimating the cap will be met in early May. Small schools like WCA are competing against large Atlanta schools for these scholarship funds.
Although Wildwood has a great base of support through its friends and families, we would like to have the whole community support this program, which benefits both local families and a local organization.
Since the inception of this educational opportunity, Wildwood has awarded more than $260,000 in scholarship funds to deserving children and families. The need for financial aid is greater than the available funds, and each year Wildwood turns away qualifying students.
Each private school must “raise” its own tax credit/scholarship funds through the participation of Georgia income tax-paying individuals and corporations; these individuals and corporations can contribute a portion of their tax liability to the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program.
Participants are eligible for a dollar-for-dollar Georgia tax credit (not merely a deduction) for their contribution. Furthermore, contributions to GOAL also are deductible for federal income tax purposes.
The process is not only simple but is a “win-win.” More information about making a contribution can be found at wildwoodchristianacademy.com. Additional information about the Georgia GOAL Scholarship program can be found at goalscholarship.org or by contacting Darlaine Ward, director of development at WCA, 770-893-3300.