FAQ

We know you have questions. We’ve answered the most common ones here.

 

Tax Credits

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.

 

For Oregonians who pay state taxes, statute ORS 315.675(b)(7), states “The credit allowed under this section is in addition to any charitable contribution deduction allowable to the taxpayer.” For Oregonians who file federal returns, the Tax ID number for the Trust is 93-0621491. Under IRC Section 170(c)(1), donations to the Oregon Cultural Trust qualify as deductible charitable contributions on the Federal tax return. 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’re 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.

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% 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!

Oregonians can claim their donation on line 37 of their Oregon Form 40 tax return. The “identify” code for the Oregon Cultural Trust is 807.

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.”

Most Oregonians don’t know about it, or think it’s complex to do. But making a matching gift and claiming it on your tax return is very easy. Some might also forget to make their donation before Dec. 31.

Please note the FAQ section describes how the Cultural Trust tax credit works; tax information from the Oregon Cultural Trust is intended for use as a guide and not as official tax advice. The Cultural Trust cannot provide tax advice. Oregon taxpayers should consult with their accredited tax preparer when planning their charitable giving.

Making Your Donation

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 Kat.Bell@oregon.gov or call 503-986-0082.

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.

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. To take advantage of the Cultural Tax Credit, make your donation directly to the Cultural Trust 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, 2017-18, the Cultural Trust award $2.94 million in grants to 136 cultural nonprofits. The remaining funds are invested in a permanent fund. Learn more here.

Participating Cultural Nonprofits

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:

  • Proof of headquarters in Oregon (official letterhead is accepted);
  • A copy of the Internal Revenue Service letter verifying your organization’s 501(c)(3) tax- exempt status;
  • A copy of your mission statement and/or bylaws for review to show that the organization operates with a mission and goals where “culture” is central. This means that the purpose of your organization is rooted in the arts, heritage, history, historic preservation or the humanities.

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.

Please allow eight to ten weeks for processing your application.

Cultural Trust Board Meetings

All meetings of the Oregon Cultural Trust Board are open to the public.

FY17 Board Meetings

Salem: July 28, 2016

Pendleton: October 27, 2016

Teleconference: February 1, 2017

Ontario: March 23, 2017

Klamath Falls: May 18, 2017

Salem: July 20, 2017

Teleconference: August 16, 2017

Lincoln City: November 9, 2017

Teleconference: February 1, 2018

Portland: March 22, 2018

Salem: May 17th, 2018

Salem: July 19, 2018

Ashland: October 25, 2018