Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program

Lehigh Children’s Academy, a service of Via of the Lehigh Valley, Inc.
Approved as an Opportunity Scholarship Organization

The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (OSTC) is administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The program provides tax credits to eligible businesses contributing to an Opportunity Scholarship Organization. Business contributions are then used by Opportunity Scholarship Organizations to provide tuition assistance in the form of scholarships to eligible students residing within the boundaries of a low-achieving school to attend another public school outside of their district or nonpublic school. A low-achieving school is defined as a public elementary or secondary school ranking in the bottom 15 percent of their designation as an elementary or secondary school based upon combined math and reading Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) scores. Lehigh Children’s Academy, a service of Via of the Lehigh Valley, Inc. is an approved Opportunity Scholarship Organization for Kindergarten.

For Parents, Students and Opportunity Scholarship Organizations

Students who live within the attendance boundaries of a low-achieving school, as determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, are eligible to receive a scholarship if their household’s annual income is no greater than $75,000 plus $15,000 for each dependent member of the household. For the 2014-15 school year, the maximum scholarship award available to non-special education students is $8,500 and the maximum for a special education student is $15,000.

Uses

Tax credits may be applied against the tax liability of a business for the tax year in which the contribution was made. The tax credits awarded to businesses will be equal to 75 percent of their contribution amount, which can be increased to 90 percent upon the business committing for two years. The total may not exceed $750,000 per taxable year.

Funding

Tax credits equal to 75 percent of its contribution up to a maximum of $750,000 per taxable year; can be increased to 90 percent of the contribution, if a business agrees to provide same amount for two consecutive tax years. Total program funding for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 is $50 million.

For purposes of the OSTC, a “contribution” from a business is defined as a donation of cash, personal property or services the value of which is the net cost of the donation to the donor or the pro rata hourly wage, including benefits, of the individual performing the services. No tax credits shall be approved for activities that are part of the business’ normal course of business.

Eligibility

Businesses authorized to do business in Pennsylvania who are subject to one or more of the following taxes: Corporate Net Income Tax; Capital Stock Franchise Tax, Bank and Trust Company Shares Tax; Title Insurance Companies Shares Tax; Insurance Premiums Tax; Mutual Thrift Institution Tax; or a tax under Article XVI of the Act of May 17, 1921, known as the Insurance Company Law of 1921. This includes the Personal Income Tax of S corporation shareholders or Partnership partners.

Terms

An approved company must provide proof to DCED within 90 days of the notification letter that the contribution was made within 60 days of the notification letter; Tax credits not used in the tax year the contribution was made may not be carried forward or carried back and is not refundable or transferable.

How to Apply – Businesses

Pennsylvania businesses can begin applying for Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits through DCED’s electronic single application system. DCED will no longer require applicants to mail the signed signature page.

The business application guide explains the process of applying. Tax credit applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis by day submitted. All applications received on a specific day will be processed on a random basis before moving on to the next day’s applications. Applications will be approved until the amount of available tax credits is exhausted.

How to Make Your Gift

Gifts can be made directly to Via of the Lehigh Valley, Inc following the guidelines outlined below. Please contact Michele Grasso to make your gift:

Michele Grasso, Vice President of Development
Via of the Lehigh Valley
336 W. Spruce Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018
M.Grasso@ViaNet.org | 484-893-5399 | Fax: 610-867-5385

Upon receipt of written notification from the Department that the business has been approved for tax credits, the business must make its contribution(s) to an approved Opportunity Scholarship Organization(s) within 60 days of the date of the approval letter, and must provide proof of the contribution in the form of a written acknowledgment from the organization to the Department within 90 days of the date of the approval letter. A business will only receive tax credits for donating to an approved organization for the amount that is specified in the application and approval letter.

For services donated to an organization that will not be performed until after the 60-day period, the business must submit a copy of a letter sent by the business to the recipient organization, dated within 60 days of the date of the approval letter and signed and accepted by the recipient organization, committing the business to donate the services described. The Department of Revenue will consider tax credits awarded under this program to be effective on the first day of the taxable year in which the contribution was made.

 

To learn more about how you can support Via, contact:
Michele Grasso, Vice President of Development
M.Grasso@ViaNet.org| 484-893-5396

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How to get involved

COVID-19

COVID-19 UPDATE:

To comply with Governor Wolf’s mandate that non-essential businesses be closed and with guidance from the PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), that funds many of our programs, Small Group Employment, many Community Employment Services, Creative Expressions Adult Training Facility and Prevocational Workshop are closed for participants until the mandate is lifted. 

However, ODP has determined that home and community-based services are considered life-sustaining and are exempt from the Governor’s directive asking for the closure of all non-essential businesses.  Therefore, Via will provide limited Community Participation supports, In-Home services and Behavioral Support services.  As we learn more from ODP, coordinators will reach out to participants about services that are available.  We are reaching out to Via staff now to determine who can provide these services. 

Coordinators are working remotely and are available by email or phone to answer your questions.  Please contact your coordinator by email or phone if you need anything or email Via@ViaNet.org.