Rhode Island's Tax-Free Arts Districts
Arts Districts help
to revitalize Rhode Island's cities and towns. Tax incentives encourage
artists to live and work within these districts.
Starting in 1998, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed legislation to
provide tax incentives for artists to live and work in specific areas, or
"districts", in (currently) nine Rhode Island communities. Those
communities are Providence, Pawtucket, Westerly, Woonsocket, Tiverton, Little
Compton, Newport, Warwick and Warren.
In setting up these districts,
the General Assembly declared that “the development of an active artistic
community, including ‘artists in residence’, in [these areas]
would promote economic development, revitalization, tourism, employment
opportunities, and encourage business development by providing alternative
commercial enterprises.” [RIGL
§44-18-30B(6)]. In short, the legislature was giving each of these
communities the tools and incentive to develop a portion of its community
by helping artists to live, work and contribute to community life, and for
art galleries and exhibition spaces to help contribute to the economy of
the state and local community.
Tax incentives: specifically,
the legislation provides three different kinds of incentives;
- for artists who live and work within a specified district, any
sale of work created within the district is exempt from state sales
for artists who live and work within a specified
district, any income they receive from the sale of work they have
created within the district is exempt from state personal income tax
(as outlined in RIGL
for gallery spaces located within the boundaries of a specified
district, the sale of original, one-of-a-kind works of art are exempt
from state sales tax, whether or not they were created within the
boundaries of the arts district.
An advisory opinion from the State
Arts Council to the Rhode Island State Tax Administrator's Office gives
more detailed information on what kind of art is covered by these exemptions.
Each district is in a different stage of development. For more information
on the communities in which arts districts exist, click on the links below.
For some communities email links have also been provided. For now, if you
need specific information on arts districts in general, or communities without
specific contact names, click here and
send a message to our General Mailbox. We will respond to your questions
or forward them to the appropriate people.