In June 2007 the Internal Revenue Service proposed a major overhaul of its reporting requirements for tax-exempt hospitals and released draft Form 990 (the IRS form filed by tax-exempt organizations each year). In December 2007 the IRS promulgated the final Form 990 after incorporating some of the recommendations made in the almost seven hundred public comments on the discussion draft. One recommendation adopted in the final Form 990 is the postponement until tax year 2009 (returns filed in 2010) of the requirement for hospitals to submit detailed information on the percentage of total expenses attributable to charity care, unreimbursed Medicaid costs, and community-health improvement programs (the discussion draft required this information for tax year 2007). Although the IRS will not require tax-exempt hospitals to provide detailed information about community benefits until the 2009 tax year, sixteen states have laws requiring tax-exempt hospitals to enumerate the benefits that they provide to the community. Information about the impact of these laws on the provision of community benefits (e.g., charity and uncompensated care) is examined in this study whose primary purpose is to highlight information policy makers may glean from states that have adopted community-benefit reporting laws.

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