educational improvement tax credit program (EITC)

EITC: A Tax Credit Program Uniting Business, Cultural Programming and Children

EITC (the Educational Improvement Tax Credit) is a state program that provides approved businesses with credits of 75%-90% against state tax liabilities. Participating companies can choose to direct their tax dollars to The Tull Family Theater, supporting the Theater’s educational programming for local children.

The PA Department of Community and Economic Development operates EITC for companies conducting business in the state, providing a cash credit (actually reducing tax liability, NOT merely a deduction) to offset annual tax liabilities of $3,500 to $750,000 for:

  • Corporate net income tax
  • Capital stock/foreign franchise tax
  • Personal income tax of S Corporation shareholders, or partners in a general partnership or LLC
  • Bank, title, insurance and trust company shares tax
  • Malt beverage tax.

Because demand for EITC participation is great, companies that want to continue to participate in the EITC or to be added to the EITC program should apply early.

How Does The Tull Family Theater Receive EITC Donations?

The Tull Family Theater secures EITC donations under the umbrella of the Central PA Scholarship Fund (CPSF), an EITC-accredited organization that passes through 100% of the designated funding, without cost to the Theater or to the businesses; however, The Tull Family Theater must be designated by name as the recipient. CPSF provides documentation that the company shares with the state as proof of its contribution.

CPSF serves hundreds of organizations, such as Allegheny College, Central Catholic High School and Carnegie Mellon University Children’s School, by assisting contributing businesses with applications, completing other necessary paperwork and interacting with the state—again, all at no cost.

What does EITC Support at The Tull Family Theater?

All EITC contributions support youth programming that supplements public education, specifically:

  • OUTREACH TO SUBURBAN AND RURAL YOUTH LIVING IN UNDERSERVED AREAS. Programming has enabled hundreds of students from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Washington counties to enter a cinema for the first time in their lives at The Tull Family Theater, and to be immersed into the magical world of possibilities and imagination that many of us take for granted.  In discussions afterward, students deconstruct plots, characters, and cultural and universal values depicted in the film. They can relate the significance of relevant lessons in their own lives. Speakers and/or supplemental information enhance the experience.

For many students, free tickets are not enough. The Theater realizes that in suburban and rural areas, transportation issues often accompany economic distress, so the Theater’s programming incorporates transportation along with the cinematic experience.

  • SENSORY FRIENDLY SCREENINGS for children and families impacted by autism and other special needs. This programming offers inclusive access to cinematic, social and cultural experiences seldom available—especially to impacted rural and suburban children—thus extends the reach of cinema to hundreds of our region’s most vulnerable children. Through this programming, older teens have enjoyed their initial cinematic experience; families have been enabled to watch a film together for the very first time. These screenings also provide opportunities for special needs patrons to develop life skills in a “real” setting beyond the classroom: riding the bus, purchasing tickets, selecting concessions, choosing seats and learning cinema etiquette. EITC contributions combine with grant funding to support inclusive programming on a regular basis.

By reallocating some of your businesses’ tax dollars and designating The Tull Family Theater as your EITC contribution recipient, your businesses can take pride in supporting innovative arts programming that reaches students facing physical, mental, social, economic and logistical challenges that isolate them from the mainstream. You and your business can make this happen for youth living right within your company’s footprint!

The online application for EITC is available through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s website. Until a contribution is made, companies may change their designated recipient and direct funds to The Tull Family Theater. 

For more information, please contact Dr. Karen Ferrick-Roman, director of Communications and Education.

FAQ

The PA Department of Community and Economic Development operates the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), a tax incentive available to for-profit companies based in PA or conducting business in the state, that benefits eligible educational nonprofits, including THE TULL FAMILY THEATER

This tax credit program enables companies to direct contributions to specific educational organizations instead of paying taxes to the state. Companies must apply and be accepted into the program and, thereafter, renew their applications. The state allocates only a specific amount of tax credits for EITC every year. While most of these funds are directed toward schools, 20% of the overall amount received can be shared with Educational Improvement Organizations (EIOs), like The Tull Family Theater, that supplement public schools. Through this program, businesses can multiply the power of their contributions by 10 times the cost to the company because they receive tax credits for up to 90% of their EITC contributions. These are actual cash tax credits, not merely deductions. 

To be eligible for the EITC program, a business:

  • Must be a for-profit based in Pennsylvania or authorized to do business in Pennsylvania
  • Can be an S or C Corporation, LLC or partnership 
  • Must have a state tax liability of at least $3,500 for any of these taxes:
    • Personal Income Tax
    • Capital Stock/Foreign Franchise Tax
    • Corporate Net Income Tax
    • Bank Shares Tax
    • Title Insurance & Trust Company Shares Tax
    • Insurance Premium Tax (excluding surplus lines, unauthorized, domestic/foreign marine)
    • Mutual Thrift Tax
    • Malt Beverage Tax
    • Retaliatory Fees under section 212 of the Insurance Company Law of 1921.

Companies submit an online application to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, choosing to commit a certain amount of their tax liability ($3,500 to $750,000) to the EITC program for one or two years. If approved with a one-year commitment, companies receive tax credits of 75%. With a two-year commitment, they receive tax credits of 90%.

The pool of available tax credits is limited and because so many companies are interested, and EITC allotments are claimed very quickly and allocated n a first-come, first-served basis starting with submissions received May 15. Companies wishing to join the program should apply on July 1, the first application date for new businesses. Applications are accepted only until the tax credits are exhausted. 

While the dollar amount of the tax credit/EITC contribution level cannot be changed after the application, the school or EIO selected as recipients can be. Throughout the year, EIO dollars can be allocated to The Tull Family Theater. 

After companies receive state approval—generally, in the fall—they have 60 days to make a contribution to a school or EIO, such as The Tull Family Theater, and 90 days to submit proof of that contribution to the state. 

When companies file their taxes, the state will provide the tax credit for the year in which the contribution was made. Additionally, companies also may be eligible for a federal charitable contribution.

The Tull Family Theater is not listed as an EIO on the state website. The Theater receives its designated EITC donations under the umbrella of the Central PA Scholarship Fund (CPSF), an EITC-accredited pass-through nonprofit listed on the state website. Thus, companies’ EITC contribution checks supporting The Tull Family Theater are made to Central PA Scholarship Fund, specifying the Theater as the designated nonprofit. CPSF passes through 100% of contributions to the Theater. CPSF then sends the company an official acknowledgement letter reflecting The Tull Family Theater as the chosen charity and the contribution amount. In turn, the company shares this document with the state as proof of its contribution.

CPSF serves hundreds of organizations, such as Allegheny College, Central Catholic High School and Carnegie Mellon University Children’s School, by assisting contributing businesses with applications, completing other necessary paperwork and interacting with the state—all at no cost to either the businesses or the participating nonprofits.

All of the received EITC contributions support educational youth programming. The benefit to the Theater is an influx of donation dollars without the significant investment of resources and staff time typically spent on solicitations of individual donors and grant applications, enabling the Theater to dedicate more of its resources toward program development.

This is extremely significant to an organization with a lean staff, as administrative costs are only 6% of the Theater’s budget. EITC contributions are tremendously powerful for the Theater, enabling it to provide youth programming that already has introduced thousands of children to a quality cinematic experience. These innovative educational programs:

  • Enhance the curriculum of public school academic programs
  • Supplement academic programming
  • Provide a different focus, delivery and skill training than typical public school academic programs do.

Currently, the two types of youth programming the Theater provides involve:

  • SUBURBAN AND RURAL YOUTH LIVING IN UNDERSERVED AREAS who are exposed to current cultural topics through outreach programming. Every year, approximately 1,000 students supplement classwork by attending the cinema, which supplies a fresh, exciting vehicle for current messages to be discussed. This programming has enabled hundreds of students from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Washington counties to step inside a cinema for the first time in their lives at The Tull Family Theater, and to enter the magical world of possibilities and imagination that many of us take for granted.  In discussions afterward, students deconstruct plots, characters, and cultural and universal values depicted in the film. They can relate the significance of relevant lessons in their own lives. Speakers and/or supplemental information enhance the experience.

Many of these youth struggle against isolation, anger and often, hopelessness, living in the trenches of contemporary society and the engulfing growth of suburban poverty.  A report issued by the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities states that “arts and humanities provide youth with a different perspective on their own lives—a chance to imagine a different outcome and develop a critical distance from everyday life.”

For many of these students, free tickets are not enough. The Theater realizes that in suburban and rural areas, transportation is an issue that often accompanies economic distress, so the Theater’s programming incorporates transportation along with tickets, popcorn and drinks. 

  • SENSORY FRIENDLY SCREENINGS for children and families impacted by autism and other special needs. This programming continues to open new, inclusive access to cinematic, social and cultural experiences seldom available—especially to rural and suburban children—thus extends the reach of cinema to hundreds of our region’s most vulnerable children and enables first-time experiences for many of these youths and their families/caretakers. 

The welcoming and adaptive sensory friendly environment at the Theater has made it possible for all ages to experience the cinema as their peers do; the Theater has learned that many older teens have been attending a cinema for the first time. While these children may or may not participate in discussions with classmates and teachers, they obtain an understanding of the cinematic experience and particular films.

Sensory friendly screenings allow the entire family to watch a film together, often for the first time, by providing an inviting setting that accounts for sensory sensitivities and the need for some children to vocalize or move about during the film’s screening. For other young patrons, sensory friendly events also provide opportunities to develop life skills in a “real” setting beyond the classroom: riding the bus, purchasing tickets, selecting concessions, choosing seats and learning cinema etiquette.

Educators, parents and children themselves all have positive comments about the opportunities to join the contemporary cultural landscape. For sensory friendly screenings, EITC contributions combine with grant funding to support inclusive programming on a regular basis.

By designating The Tull Family Theater as your EITC contribution recipient, businesses can take pride in supporting innovative arts programming that is grounded in accessibility, whether students face physical, mental or social challenges or whether they are scaling economic and logistical issue that isolate them from the mainstream.