The Catholic Health Association urged the Internal Revenue Service to broaden a proposed community-benefit disclosure standard under consideration as the agency moves to boost transparency among tax-exempt hospitals. Spending to improve housing, education, the environment or economic development should count toward subsidized aid that not-for-profits provide in exchange for certain tax breaks, officials with the St. Louis-based trade group wrote in a letter to the IRS dated Sept. 12.
The IRS unveiled in June a redesign of its yearly Form 990 for tax-exempt organizations, which included a new, separate questionnaire for hospitals. Public comment on the changes closes Sept. 14.
The CHA endorsed the agencys decision to leave off bad debt and Medicare losses from its proposed reporting criteria, a position that puts the Catholic trade group at odds with the American Hospital Association. However, both groups agree on another front; both want the IRS to drop questions on hospitals billing and collection efforts.
In the letter, the CHA called for a reasonable time period before hospitals adopt the revised reporting requirements, but did not say how much time hospitals may need. The IRS said in June it may require tax-exempt hospitals to use a revised filing form as early as 2008. -- by Melanie Evans