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Georgia – Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit


Georgia – Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit

Georgia’s Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit, a tax-credit scholarship program, was enacted and launched in 2008 to help prior public school students access schools that best fit their needs. Learn more about the program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations, legal history, and more.

Program Fast Facts

  • 13,428 participating students (2014)

  • 94 percent of students eligible statewide

  • 25 scholarship organizations awarding scholarships (2014)

  • Average scholarship value: $3,151 (2014)

  • Value as a percentage of public school per-student spending: 35 percent

Program Details

Georgia’s Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit Participation

Students Participating
Calendar Year

Click the + symbols to learn more about this program’s details.

Georgia offers tax credits to donors supporting Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships to students in need.

Student Funding

Scholarship amounts are determined by SSOs, capped only by the average state and local expenditures per child for public elementary and secondary education in the entire state. For 2015, scholarships are capped at $8,966.

Donors receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations to SSOs. Individuals may claim up to $1,000, and married couples filing jointly may claim up to $2,500. An individual who is a member of an LLC, a shareholder of an S-Corporation, or a partner in a partnership may claim up to $10,000 of their tax actually paid as a member, shareholder, or partner. Corporate taxpayers may claim up to 75 percent of their total tax liability. The program is capped at $58 million in tax credits per year.

Student Eligibility

All public school students are eligible if they attended a public school for at least six weeks immediately prior to receiving a scholarship, as are students enrolling in prekindergarten, kindergarten, or first grade. Eligibility continues until a student graduates, reaches age 20, or returns to public school. SSOs may set their own eligibility guidelines.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Scholarship Cap: $8,966 (2015)
  • Testing Mandates: None
  • Credit Value: 100 percent
  • Total Credit Cap: Yes
  • Budget Cap: $58 million
  • SSO Requirements:
    • Use at least 90 percent of contributions for scholarships
    • Make scholarships available for more than one school
    • Have an independent board of directors
    • Ensure donors cannot designate their donation to any particular individual student
    • Submit annually to the state:
      • Data on accepted contributions and tax credits approved
      • Independent review of financial statements by a certified public accountant
      • Total number of students and total dollar value of scholarships awarded each year
    • Publicly disclose annually:
      • Total number of scholarships approved
      • Total number and amount of donations received
      • Average household income of scholarship recipients

Governing Statutes

O.C.G.A. §§ 20-2A-1 through 7 and 48-7-29.16

Legal History

On May 8, 2014, the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Georgia’s tax-credit scholarship program. The initial lawsuit, which was filed in April by four Georgia residents backed by the Southern Education Foundation, argues that the scholarship program violates the state constitution’s ban on providing public support to religious institutions. The next hearing date has yet to be determined. Gaddy v. Department of Revenue.

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