educational improvement tax credit program (EITC)

EITC contributions offer tax credits to businesses and are incredibly powerful for the Theater, enabling it to provide youth programming without the typical significant investment of resources and staff time necessary for individual donor solicitations and grant applications–funneling more resources toward program development. Here are the details:

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 Lindsay Theater and Cultural Center. 

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 Lindsay, 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 offset annual tax liabilities of $3,500 to $750,000.

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 of S Corporation shareholders, or partners in a general partnership or LLC
    • Capital Stock/Foreign Franchise Tax
    • Corporate Net Income Tax
    • Bank, title, insurance and 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.

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.

May 16, 2023 – Applications open with the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development for renewing EITC participation and for those in the middle of 2-year commitments

July 1, 2023 – First day that companies wishing to add another EITC commitment or are new to the EITC program can apply–but only if the state’s tax credit ceiling is not yet reached. Applications can be for 1 year, with tax credits of 75% of the amount committed, or 2 years, with tax credits of 90% of the amount committed.

Fall 2023 – The state determines individual EITC approval.

Free assistance in completing a company’s online application to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development is available through the Central PA Scholarship Fund (CPSF), the EITC-accredited organization working with The Lindsay. CPSF, at no cost to the business or the Theater, completes applications and other necessary paperwork, including documentation that the company shares with the state as proof of its contribution.

In the application, businesses choose to commit a certain amount of their tax liability ($3,500 to $750,000) to the EITC program for one or two years. With an approved 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. Because so many companies are interested, EITC allotments are claimed very quickly and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis starting with submissions, usually May 15. Companies wishing to join or expand their participation in the program should apply on July 1, the first application date for new businesses. Applications are accepted only until the tax credits are exhausted, and notice of determination is provided by the state in the Fall. 

While the dollar amount of the tax credit/EITC contribution level cannot be changed after the application is submitted, the school or EIO selected as recipients can be. This means any business participating in EITC could allocate their tax credit dollars to Village Theater Company, DBA as The Lindsay Theater and Cultural Center, throughout the year.

After companies receive state approval, they have 60 days to make a contribution to a school or EIO, such as The Lindsay, 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 Theater secures EITC donations under the umbrella of the Central PA Scholarship Fund (CPSF), which is accredited by the EITC-accredited and passes through 100% of the designated funding, without cost to the Theater or to the businesses. The only stipulation for this to happen is that The Lindsay Theater and Cultural Center 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 and other necessary paperwork and interacting with the state—again, all at no cost.

All EITC contributions support The Lindsay’s educational youth programming, led by Ross Nugent, Director of Education and Special Programming, the former chair of the Thiel College Department of Media, Communication and Public Relations, a filmmaker and theater manager.

The Theater’s innovative educational programs are designed to supplement school curricula, enhance career readiness, and provide alternative delivery and skill training to youth.

Theater programming includes:

  • Cinema Maker Sessions (CiMS), an immersive, hands-on, long-term program for low- and moderate-wealth youth, focused on youth of color and non-native speakers. Using filmmaking as a platform, CiMS raises awareness of careers at the intersection of STEM and the arts, and students engage in creating and reviewing works onscreen.
  • Exposure to current cultural topics through outreach to underserved suburban and rural youth from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Washington counties. As so many of us watch a film in a theater for grants, it’s astonishing that this programming has enabled hundreds of students, preschool to high school age, to enter a cinema for the first time in their lives. In age-appropriate discussions afterward, students deconstruct plots, characters, and cultural and universal values depicted in the film, relating relevant lessons to their own lives. Speakers and/or supplemental information enhance the experience.
  • Sensory Friendly Screenings and Events for children and families impacted by autism and other special needs continue to open new, inclusive access to cinematic, social and cultural experiences seldom available in suburban and rural communities. Sensory friendly screenings allow the entire family to watch a film together, often for the first time, at public screenings. Events coordinated with schools, including Extended School Year programs, 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. Autism friendly Open Mic sessions in collaboration with Band Together Pittsburgh and family autism friendly concerts in partnership with Azure Pittsburgh offer additional options to special needs children.

By designating The Lindsay Theater as your EITC contribution recipient, your business can take pride in supporting innovative arts programming grounded in accessibility, whether students face physical, mental or social challenges or whether they scale economic and logistical issues disconnecting them from the mainstream.