The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (“DCED”) has issued guidelines on the new Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (“OSTC”).
The OSTC is a new program for fiscal year 2012-2013 and provides tuition assistance to students in the poorest-performing 15% of public schools and tax credits to businesses that contribute to Opportunity Scholarship Organizations. The program has $50 million in funding for the current fiscal year.
Businesses are able to submit applications to DCED on August 8, 2012. Applications are made through the DCED’s electronic single application system and are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be accepted and approved until the program’s funding is exhausted. Businesses making contributions may be approved for tax credits equal to 75% of their contribution for one year and 90% if they commit to contributions in consecutive years. A business is eligible for up to $400,000 in OSTC program tax credits for fiscal year 2012-2013.
Organizations that wish to apply to be an approved Opportunity Scholarship Organization must be a non-profit entity, exempt from federal tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and contribute at least 80% of annual OSTC receipts to a qualifying opportunity scholarship program. The application process for an organization is detailed in the guidelines from the DCED’s website.
Parents and students interested in the program should check the DCED website for eligibility based on income levels and school district. Approved Opportunity Scholarship Organizations will be added to the website once approvals commence.
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