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Abstract

In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revised and standardized the reporting policy for community benefit expenses for nonprofit hospitals. These expenses are required for tax exemption. At that time, the IRS designated some categories of activities as non-eligible as a community benefit, but still mandated their reporting on hospitals’ Form 990, the annual tax filing for nonprofit organizations. One such category was community building, which encompasses a broad range of nonmedical determinants of health and an important potential source of population health revenue. This is the first study to analyze community-building dollars at any level, examining New York State’s nonprofit hospitals during the 2010 and 2012 tax year. Forty-six percent of hospitals reported any amount for such activities in both years, totaling 17.8 million dollars in 2010 and 16.4 million dollars in 2012. We believe this category deserves additional attention from policymakers and researchers, and should be considered by the IRS an eligible community benefit activity.