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Rhode Island Arts Exemption Begins December 1, 2013


 Rhode Island's support of the arts is palpable.

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation website. It outlines exactly who and what qualifies for the new statewide sales and use tax exemption.

The arts exemption takes effect at the end of this week, on December 1, 2013. By turning Rhode Island into a State of the Arts, lawmakers hope to “make the arts a powerful, thriving, economic engine for the state.” The exemption is seen as “valuable economic tool” that can “help increase tourism, job creation and the revitalization of our communities.”

Rhode Island State Senator James Sheehan, an early and consistent proponent of the exemption, applauded the arts exemption in a recent letter to the editor of the North Kingstown Patch. He notes that:

  • “Every dollar spent by a Rhode Island nonprofit arts and cultural organization resulted in $2.10 in sales for businesses in Rhode Island;” and
  • “Every job provided by a Rhode Island nonprofit arts and cultural organization became 1.5 jobs for workers across the state.”

In short, he writes, “Helping and supporting and promoting an active artistic community across our state through the sales tax exemption benefits our state and its cities and towns, culturally and economically.”

While the arts exemption has many supporters, there are others who think Rhode Island needs more than an arts exemption to revitalize communities and spark economic growth. Bold change is needed, say some, including a representative from the Tax Foundation--a non-partisan tax research group that supports sensible tax policy. Rhode Island already exempts approximately 75% of the state’s economy. More exemptions, even an arts exemption, may not be the most effective tool for economic change.

Exemptions exist. How does your business manage sales tax exemption certificates?

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photo credit: Daquella manera 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.