HARRISBURG – Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary C. Alan Walker has announced changes to the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program online application for businesses, allowing for a quicker application process.
The new online application was condensed down to two simple pages from seven, creating a simplified application for businesses to use. The new online form also offers business applicants a step-by-step process to follow and will create a more efficient review process for DCED staff.
“After receiving feedback from several businesses and scholarship organizations about the online application, we immediately recognized a need for a consolidated, simplified process,” Walker said.
Gov. Tom Corbett in 2012 signed into law the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, making $50 million in tax credits available to businesses that contribute to approved Opportunity Scholarship Organizations.
Through the Opportunity Scholarship program, scholarships are offered to students currently enrolled in public schools which are ranked among the lowest 15 percent of underperforming districts. The scholarships will allow eligible students to withdraw from their current district and enroll at a public school outside of their district or at a nonpublic school.
“The governor is committed to providing students with the best access to quality educational programs,” Walker said. “By working with businesses we can provide a unique opportunity for students in low scoring schools to thrive.”
Pennsylvania businesses can apply for Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits through DCED’s electronic single application system. Tax credit applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the date 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.
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 $400,000 per taxable year.
For more information about the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, visit www.newpa.com/ostc.
To view the list of low-achieving schools, visit the Department of Education’s website at www.education.state.pa.us and click on the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program icon.