Cascadia Composers May the Fourth

Time is short to get your Oregon Cultural Tax Credit

The state's innovative tax credit system allows you to double the impact of your donations to nonprofit cultural groups – but you must act by Dec. 31.

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Jeremy Okai Davis’s 50-by-50-inch acrylic painting “Hue (Streat),” 2021, is part of the current exhibition “Black Artists of Oregon” at the Portland Art Museum. The museum is one of more than 1,600 arts, heritage, or humanities nonprofit groups eligible for matching donations through the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit system.

A great many Oregon arts and cultural organizations are still digging out of the fiscal hole left by slowdowns and shutdowns during the deep pandemic years, which means that donations to nonprofit groups are even more important than usual in 2023.

That’s where the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit comes in. We gave details of the innovative funding system in this story from Nov. 27. We’re bringing it back because time is running short to take advantage of it in 2023: Donations must be made by Dec. 31 to qualify for the state’s dollar-for-dollar credit on your Oregon tax bill.

Here’s how it works, as noted in the Nov. 27 story:

“In Oregon, one of the most significant opportunities for arts and cultural support is the state-run Cultural Tax Credit, administered by the Oregon Cultural Trust and established by the Legislature in 2001 to help offset, at least in Oregon, a national gap in government support of arts and culture.

“The program is a vital link in nonprofits’ budgeting: In its 21 years so far the tax credit has accounted for almost $40 million in awards to arts and cultural groups.

“Oregon’s highly unusual cultural credit essentially allows you to apply a healthy portion of your state taxes to any of more than 1,600 arts, heritage, or humanities nonprofit groups covering all corners of the state. (See the full list of qualified organizations here.)

“The rules are simple: Donate money to the nonprofit groups of your choice, and match that amount by the end of December with a donation to the Cultural Trust. Come tax time the Trust donation will return to your pocket, not as a deduction on total income, but as a dollar-for-dollar credit on taxes owed.

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“If you give one group or a combination of groups $500, for instance, and then match that with a donation in the same amount to the Trust, what you owe on your state taxes is reduced by $500 – meaning that in essence you’ll have doubled your donation, spending $500 but giving $1,000 to arts and cultural groups.

The Immigrant Story, seen above in a live performance in February 2023, is one of more than 1,600 arts, heritage, or humanities nonprofit groups eligible for matching donations through the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit system. Photo: Brooke Hoyer

“You can, of course, donate as much as you want to as many nonprofit groups as you’d like, and as much as you want to the Cultural Trust, but there are limits to the tax benefit: Maximum tax credit limits are $500 for individuals, $1,000 for couples filing jointly, and $2,500 for C-class corporations.

“The state’s tax credit program is a key part of the complex and delicately balanced economic foundation for Oregon’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, from large groups such as the Portland Art Museum, Portland Center Stage, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Oregon Bach Festival to local museums, choirs, dance and theater companies, cultural centers, and other groups in every county in the state.

“In a very real sense, the health of Oregon’s arts and cultural scene relies on the people who are willing and able to keep it going. Give what you can, where you want — and don’t forget: December 31 is this year’s deadline to receive the Culture Tax Credit for this tax year.”

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As a nonprofit news organization, Oregon ArtsWatch is one of those 1,600-plus organizations eligible for the state’s Cultural Tax Credit donations. We bring our stories to you — about 700 of them every year — thanks to a combination of sponsorships and personal, foundation, and government grants that pay for our operations. That largesse allows us to cover arts and cultural news and issues in the greater Portland area and, through our Oregon Cultural Hubs series and other editorial programs, around the state.

ArtsWatch has no paywall: Everything we publish is available free to anyone online at our website, www.orartswatch.org. To do this, we rely on our readers’ support. If you can, please add us to your donations list this year — and get a break on your taxes while you’re at it. To get started, just click on the “Donate Today” button in the “Be Part of Our Growing Success” box below. Thanks.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Bob Hicks has been covering arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest since 1978, including 25 years at The Oregonian. Among his art books are Kazuyuki Ohtsu; James B. Thompson: Fragments in Time; and Beth Van Hoesen: Fauna and Flora. His work has appeared in American Theatre, Biblio, Professional Artist, Northwest Passage, Art Scatter, and elsewhere. He also writes the daily art-history series "Today I Am."

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