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Rhode Island: Will Tax Exemptions Create a State of the Arts?


 WaterFire, in Providence, Which Already Has a Sales Tax Exemption for Art.

Senator Paiva Weed, president of the Rhode Island Senate, has introduced a bill that would create a statewide sales tax exemption for art. If it is enacted, Rhode Island would become the first distinct "state of the arts."

Since 1998, there have been several tax-free Arts Districts in Rhode Island; currently there are nine: Providence, Pawtucket, Westerly, Woonsocket, Tiverton, Little Compton, Newport, Warwick, and Warren. Tax incentives encourage artists to both live and work in these districts, which in turn "promote[s] economic development, revitalization, tourism, employment opportunities, and encourage[s] business developmentā€¦ ."

Move the Needle

Rhode Island lawmakers would like to expand the sales tax exemptions that exist in these districts, establishing them statewide. The bill is part of the "Moving the Needle" legislation unveiled earlier this week, which is designed to improve the state's business climate. Sen. Weed: "This cohesive package of bills is aimed at making Rhode Island more attractive to entrepreneurs, improving our image within our state and outside our boarders, and helping companies that are here to grow and create jobs."

A similar measure in the house was introduce on March 6. H5844 reads:

"There is value in expanding the arts district program statewide, providing incentives for the sale and purchase of art. This is a unique opportunity for Rhode Island to shape history, and gain an advantage over other states, by becoming the first and only state in the country to declare a statewide sales tax exemption on art. This will strengthen Rhode Island's identity as an arts-friendly destination and 'State of the Arts'."

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photo credit: Lizard10979 via photopin cc


Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.