Income tax checkoffs are commonly instituted in most states to benefit popular causes including wildlife preservation, child abuse prevention and political campaigns.
For fiscal year 2022, only four states have implemented income tax checkoffs for the arts. California is the only state to receive a substantial amount, $250,000, from this funding mechanism. Other states’ receipts varied from $12,000 to $65,000. Due to low funding returns, a number of additional states have ended prior arts checkoff programs.
|Alabama: The Alabama State Council on the Arts receives revenue each year from checkoffs to support its programming. On average, the checkoff represents 0.5% or less of the total agency budget. While the checkoff has been a reliable source of income, the dollar amount received has not changed substantially since its inception in the early 1980s.
|California: The California Arts Council began receiving money from a voluntary tax checkoff in 2011. Tax-deductible contributions of $1 or more are directed to the Arts Council to support its programs.
|Kansas: An arts checkoff was authorized in 2012 to benefit the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. Taxpayers can choose to contribute $1 or more directly to the Commission to support its activities.
|Virginia: The most recent arts checkoff began in 2010 and goes directly to the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The previous checkoff started in the late 1990s and funds were directed to the Virginia Arts Foundation. In 2022, the Arts Foundation Fund was eliminated and powers transferred to the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
|Michigan: The Michigan Arts and Culture Council (then the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs) began a new arts checkoff with the 2009 tax filing. Taxpayers could contribute $5 or more directly to the Council in support of local arts and cultural events. This checkoff ended after 2011 when it failed to earn enough money.
|Oregon: From 1985 to 1993, the Oregon Arts Commission received tax checkoff funds, which were distributed through the Cultural Facilities Program. The Commission received as much as $167,000 in 1986, when it was the only checkoff on the form. Shortly thereafter, many causes began competing for funds and the arts checkoff was eventually eliminated when it failed to earn $50,000 in two consecutive years.
|Rhode Island: In Rhode Island there is a checkoff that supports the arts, but funds generated are not given to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Instead, these funds are used by the Arts and Tourism Commission, primarily to fund tourism promotion.