ATLANTA — In 2023, Georgia taxpayers can begin receiving significant tax credits for donations to law enforcement and foster care programs.
Signed by Governor Brian Kemp on May 9, the LESS Crime Act (SB 361) would allow the public and businesses to donate to their local law enforcement agency for a 100% dollar-for-dollar tax credit .
The credit allows taxpayers and businesses to directly support public safety initiatives in their community through an affiliated law enforcement foundation.
Law enforcement agencies will be required to allocate these dollars towards salary increases, hiring additional officers, increasing officer training and law enforcement equipment, and establishing/maintaining a co-responder program to defuse behavioral health emergencies.
As of January 1, 2023, each taxpayer will be entitled to a credit on the tax imposed as follows:
• $5,000 for the head of a single person or the head of a household, or the actual amount of contributions, whichever is less.
• $10,000 or the actual amount of contributions, whichever is less, for a married couple or a member of a limited liability company, a shareholder of an S corporation or a partnership.
• 75% of income tax payable or the actual amount of eligible contributions for a corporation.
Kemp also signed the “Fostering Success Act” (HB 424) on Monday. It aims to generate up to $20 million annually for services for unadopted youth ages 16-18 transitioning to adulthood.
Funds will be disbursed to certified foster child support organizations or qualified organizations that provide services including post-secondary education support, medical and mental health care, housing and transportation.
“Each year, an average of 570 young adults come out of foster care with limited guidance on how to deal with the challenges presented by adulthood,” said Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, one of the main sponsors of the law. “Because of this, young children often experience a difficult start on top of what was already a rough and difficult childhood. That is why it is imperative that our work does not stop once a foster child reaches the age of 18.”
Under the new credit, contributions of up to $2,500 will be accepted for single filers or heads of households; up to $5,000 for married couples filing jointly; up to $5,000 for an individual with an LLC; or 10% of a corporation’s tax payable.
Kemp also signed SB 403, creating a mental health co-responder model for law enforcement officers and behavioral health professionals.
Under the proposal, local community service boards would provide a behavioral health specialist to help officers respond to a crisis, either virtually or in person. With the advice of a licensed counsellor, officers will have the power to refer a person to a treatment center rather than making an arrest.