We know you have questions. We’ve answered the most common ones here.
The Cultural Trust tax credit is a unique way for the state to fund cultural activities in the state into perpetuity. To qualify, you need to first make a donation to one or more of the 1400+ nonprofits on our list. Then make a matching gift to the Oregon Cultural Trust on our website or via mail. Oregonians who pay state income tax will get the credit back – dollar for dollar – on their tax return. It costs them nothing.
A tax credit reduces what you owe the State of Oregon. It’s a much greater savings than a deduction, which only reduces the income on which you are taxed. For example, if it appears you owe $200 in Oregon taxes but you made a $100 contribution to the Cultural Trust by Dec. 31 of that tax year, your final tax bill will only be $100.
(prepared by the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Cultural Trust)
The following examples and chart provides guidance, individual tax circumstances may be different. These examples assumes a couple is filing jointly and is eligible for the maximum Cultural Trust tax credit of $1,000. A single file is eligible for a maximum of $500.
Itemizing Guidance (not including the Trust tax credit as a federal tax deduction)
If the joint filers are in the federal 32% rate and 9% rate for Oregon and donate a total of $1,000 to eligible cultural nonprofits, they are eligible to claim deductions for $320 tax savings on the federal return and $90 for state return. The taxpayers tax saving would be $410.
If the same taxpayers also contributed $1,000 to the Cultural Trust, and that amount is not claimed as a deduction on federal tax returns, the contribution is eligible for the Trust tax credit. The Oregon tax saving would be $1,000.
The total combined tax savings would be $1,410. The taxpayers gave a total of $2,000 to cultural nonprofits and the Trust and total cash outlay was only $590.
Standard Deduction Guidance (itemize deductions on the Oregon return only)
If the joint filers are in the federal 32% rate and 9% rate for Oregon and donate a total of $1,000 to eligible cultural nonprofits and do not itemize on their federal return they are not eligible to claim those contribution to cultural nonprofits as deductions on their federal return. There would be no tax savings for these donations if they are claiming the standard deduction. The contribution of $1,000 would be eligible as a deduction the Oregon tax return, the tax savings would be $90.
If the same taxpayers also contributed $1,000 to the Cultural Trust, and that amount is not claimed as a deduction on federal tax returns, the contribution is eligible for the Trust tax credit. The tax saving would be $1,000.
The total combined tax savings would be $1,090. The taxpayers gave a total of $2,000 to cultural nonprofits and the Trust and total cash outlay was only $910.
No Itemized Deduction on federal or state taxes
If the joint filers do not itemize on either federal or state taxes they may not claim the donations to cultural nonprofits on either tax returns. There would not be a tax savings.
If the same taxpayers also contributed $1,000 to the Cultural Trust, and that amount is not claimed as a deduction on federal or state tax returns, the contribution is eligible for the Trust tax credit. The tax saving would be $1,000.
The tax savings would be $1,000. The taxpayers gave a total of $2,000 to cultural nonprofits and the Trust and total cash outlay was only $1,000.
If your contribution to the Trust is above the maximum tax credit limit, you can claim the amount over the limit as a deduction on your state and federal returns as long as you itemize on both returns. For example: If you are eligible for a maximum $1,000 Trust tax credit and you donate $1,500 to the Trust, you can claim the $1,000 Trust tax credit and the over amount of $500 on your federal and Oregon tax returns.
Why doesn’t every Oregonian do this?
Most Oregonians don’t know about it, or think it’s complex to do. But making a matching contribution and claiming it on your tax return is very easy. Some might also forget to make their donation before Dec. 31.
The Oregon Cultural Trust is a tax-exempt organization under Chapter 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code and our tax id number is 93-0621491.
The contribution to the Trust can either be claimed as a deduction on your federal taxes OR as an Oregon state Trust tax credit. You cannot claim the state tax credit and also deduct it on your federal tax return. See below for examples.
If your contribution to the Trust is above the maximum tax credit limit you can claim the amount over the limit as a deduction on your state and federal returns as long as you itemize on both returns. For example: If you are eligible for a maximum $1,000 Trust tax credit and you donate $1,500 to the Trust, you can claim the $1,000 Trust tax credit and the over amount of $500 on your federal and Oregon tax returns.
If you itemize your deductions and you include the contribution to the Trust that contribution is eligible as a deductible on your federal income tax return. If you claim the Trust contribution as a deduction on your federal returns, you will need to add that amount back to your taxable income on your Oregon tax returns.
Standard Deduction Guidance
If you do not itemize your deductions on your federal income tax return, you are eligible to claim the Trust tax credit on your Oregon returns up to the allowable limit.
Oregon taxpayers should consult with their accredited tax preparer regarding the availability to take the deduction on the Federal return while also taking a credit on the Oregon return for the same donation.
Yes, but they are generous: up to $500 for an individual, $1,000 for couples filing jointly and $2,500 for Class-C corporations. You must have Oregon tax liability in order to claim the tax credit. You can claim the tax credit year after year, but you cannot carry it forward from one year to the next. If you do not itemize your deductions on your federal income tax return, you may still claim the Oregon cultural tax credit on your state returns up to the allowable limit. Oregon taxpayers should consult with their accredited tax preparer regarding the availability to take the deduction on the Federal return while also taking a credit on the Oregon return for the same donation.
Yes, although many Oregon taxpayers will likely take the standard deduction due to recent change in tax law, while still choosing to support charitable cultural nonprofits with a donation. Even if you choose not to itemize your taxes, you can make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust for a 100% state tax credit. Be sure to consult with your tax preparer for which approach best suites your financial situation. A gift to a cultural nonprofit and the Cultural Trust remains a win-win!
The cultural tax credit is claimed using code 807 on Schedule OR-ASC, Section 3, or Schedule OR-ASC-NP, Section 5. This amount is carried over onto the tax return using the following lines: Form OR-40, line 25; Form OR-40-N, line 50; or Form OR-40-P, line 49 (N stands for non-residents, P stands for part-time residents).
Users of Tax Software: In the list of “Standard Credits,” you’ll see “Oregon Cultural Trust.” Enter the amount you gave to the Cultural Trust there. It might also be referred to as the “Cultural Development Fund“.
Trust donors should consult a tax preparer should they have any questions about their unique filing circumstances.
Please note the FAQ section describes how the Cultural Trust tax credit works; tax information and examples from the Oregon Cultural Trust is intended for use as a guide and not as official tax advice. Individual tax circumstances may be different. The Cultural Trust cannot provide tax advice and cannot assume authority in tax matters. Oregon taxpayers should consult with their accredited tax preparer when planning their charitable giving.
Nope. This was set up by the Oregon legislature to provide funding for culture regardless of federal funding priorities. This is the kind of creativity and innovation you’d expect from the state that brought us the bottle bill and public beaches!
Yes. Total all of your donations, over the year, to one or more of the participating cultural nonprofits and then make a donation to the Cultural Trust of an equal amount (i.e. $500 total to OPB, High Desert Museum, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Bach Festival and Columbia Arts + $500 to Oregon Cultural Trust).
The donation you make for $500 to the Cultural Trust will come back to you dollar-for-dollar when you claim your cultural tax credit.
Yes, the Oregon Cultural Trust has an account within the Oregon State Treasury at the State Street Bank Trust.
The Oregon Cultural Trust is happy to accept contributions of stock. Instructions on making a transfer can be found by clicking here.
Stock transfers usually take several business days to process – and we request that you contact our office at least one business day prior to making the transfer so we have it set up. Once we have been notified your broker may implement the transfer for your tax credit. Once the transfer is complete we will send you a letter acknowledging your contribution.
If you have questions about gifts of stock, contact Raissa.Fleming@oregon.gov or call 503-986-0090.
Are you over age 70½ and own an IRA? If yes, the IRS requires you to take minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA based on your life expectancy. Under the tax law enacted in 2017, many taxpayers who previously itemized their deductions will now claim the standard deduction, thereby reducing the tax benefit of making charitable donations. However, the owner of an IRA may still donate part or the entire amount of the RMD and avoid paying taxes on the amount of the distribution donated to charity. Taxpayers over age 70½ can make a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from an IRA; a QCD allows you to donate up to $100,000 per year from your IRA to qualified charities without paying income tax on the distribution. The amount you donate to charity is excluded from your adjusted gross income, thereby reducing your taxable income. If you donate to a cultural non-profit and make a matching contribution to the Cultural Trust, your donation to the Oregon Cultural Trust will be eligible for the dollar for dollar state tax credit (up to $1,000 for taxpayers filing jointly and $500 for singles). The only requirement is that you send the money directly from the IRA custodian to the non-profit and/or the Cultural Trust.
The Oregon Department of Revenue advises donors with questions about the value of in-kind contributions to consult the Internal Revenue Service’s published guidelines; following the IRC allowable contributions is appropriate. Taxpayers must retain documentation evidencing the value of the in-kind contribution.
Our current understanding is that donations to the Cultural Trust from an established charitable vehicle, such as a donor advised fund, are not eligible for the Cultural Tax Credit (as both a State and Federal tax deduction is taken at the time of the charitable vehicle’s establishment). The Cultural Trust can accept donations from a charitable vehicle, but that donation is not an allowable tax credit. The Trust is currently seeking clarification on this issue. To take advantage of the Cultural Tax Credit when making your first gifts from a DAF, make your matching donation directly to the Cultural Trust from an alternate source of funds to qualify for the tax credit. Just be sure to do so by December 31 in the same tax year as the qualifying cultural donation(s).
No, we are unable to accept gifts of mutual fund shares.
Yes. Contribute to the Oregon Cultural Trust through your will, trust or annuity plan and make sure that the Cultural Trust can continue for generations to come. Visit the leave a legacy page to find out more.
No. The Oregon Cultural Trust does not ask for proof of your cultural nonprofit donations. However, we encourage donors to keep all donation paperwork with your tax information, including the donor acknowledgement you receive from the Oregon Cultural Trust.
The State of Oregon Department of Revenue may request proof of a cultural nonprofit donation as part of an audit or as part of a review of your tax credit claim.
60 percent of the funds we raise are redistributed across the state through Statewide Partners, County/Tribe Coalitions and Cultural Development Grants. For fiscal year 2020 (2019-2020), the Cultural Trust awarded $2.7 million in grants. The remaining funds are invested in a permanent fund. Learn more here.
If you have questions about the nonprofit status of an organization to which you donate, check this IRS website to view a nonprofit whose status has been revoked.
We welcome applications from Oregon cultural nonprofits who wish to be added to our qualified list. For consideration please submit:
Note: Applications are reviewed and processed quarterly (January, April, July, October). Please be sure to time your submission accordingly:
Mail all materials with a cover letter to Oregon Cultural Trust, 775 Summer Street NE, Ste. 200, Salem, Oregon 97301-1280 or via email to Aili Schreiner, Trust Manager, Aili.Schreiner@oregon.gov. Electronic submissions preferred.
All meetings of the Oregon Cultural Trust Board are open to the public.
Teleconference: February 7 & 8, 2019
Salem: April 22, 2019, Joint Meeting with Oregon Arts Commission
Teleconference: June 20, 2019
Teleconference: August 30, 2019
Portland: October 17, 2019
Teleconference: February 27, 2020
Emergency Meeting: March 20, 2020
Teleconference: May 7, 2020
Virtual Meeting: August 6, 2020
Emergency Meeting: September 18, 2020
Virtual Meeting: October 30, 2020