Cultural District Frequently Asked Questions
For more FAQ’s take a look at the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development website.
Tax Exempt Sales
How often and what is required of vendors reporting their tax exempt sales?
Vendors should report sales tax on their normal schedule which may be monthly, quarterly or annually. Tax exemption certificates and instructions are available online. There is a line on the monthly or quarterly reporting form to indicate tax-exempt sales. Vendors may sign up for a ListServe to receive tips and updates from the Department of Revenue and the Department of CRT.
Will there be a line on the state and local reporting forms to indicate original art tax exempt? How will vendor know what to do?
No. The law does not provide for or allow a threshold based on volume. The sales tax exemption only applies to sale of “original, one-of-a-kind works of art” sold within the boundaries of a cultural district as defined by statute and rules.
Can a vendor choose not to offer tax-exempt sale of original art?
No, the law does not provide for or allow vendors to “opt out.”
How is “work of art” defined?
For the purposes of the Cultural District program a work of art is defined as: Original, one-of-kind, visual art; conceived and made by hand of the artist or under his direction; and not intended for mass production, except for limited editions specified below.
Examples of eligible visual art media and products include: Visual arts and crafts, including but not limited to drawing, painting, sculpture, clay, ceramics, fiber, glass, leather, metal, paper, wood, installation art, light and digital sculpture, wearable art, or mixed media, and traditional and fine crafts; and limited, numbered editions (up to 100) of lithographs, photography, silk screen, intaglios, and etchings.
Examples of ineligible media and products include:
- Performing art
- Food products
- Live plants, such as bonsai trees, floral arrangements, wreaths, and garlands
- Music recordings
- Reproductions of original works of art
Who decides what qualifies as a work of art? What if I am not sure if an item meets the definition and is eligible?
You may request an original art advisory opinion through the Office of Cultural Development to determine whether a specific item meets the definition of a tax exempt work of art.
The Office of Cultural Development
C/O Gaye Hamilton
P.O. Box 44247,
Baton Rouge, LA, 70804
or via email for a determination. The seller must provide proof that an item is a) original, b) one-of-a-kind, c) conceived and made by hand, and d) not intended for mass production.
Are antiques considered works of art?
Some antiques fall under the category of decorative arts, which can be categorized as a traditional or fine craft. However, not all decorative arts are original, one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces of art as many only meet some of the qualifications of the cultural district definition of a work of art.
Are tattoos considered works of art eligible for the tax exemption?
While tattoos are considered an artistic creation, the Department has issued a ruling that works of art must be transferable; therefore body images are not eligible.
Is handmade jewelry eligible?
To determine if jewelry is original art, considerations include the material, design, whether handmade, and where it is sold.
- The material – gems, stones, metals, beads – Art jewelry is created with a variety of materials including but not limited to precious metals and gems.
- Design- crafted to fulfill the creative vision of the artist.
- Handmade- According to the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission, in order to be stamped or called “handmade” the work must be made solely by hand power or hand guidance.
- Where it is sold- consider whether there was a jury process to select for inclusion at an art market.
What is wearable art?
Wearable art, also known as Artwear or “art to wear”, refers to individually designed pieces of (usually) hand-made clothing or jewelry created as fine or expressive art. While the making of any article of clothing or other wearable object typically involves aesthetic considerations, the term wearable art implies that the work is intended to be accepted as a serious and unique artistic creation or statement.
How does the intent of the artist effect whether an item is a work of art?
Art is defined as the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the sense or emotions, the product of human creativity, serving as a means of expression.
Are all editions of 100 or less eligible regardless of the media?
No, only limited editions of 100 or less if they are hand made or created under the direction of the artist are eligible. Eligible media include lithographs, photography, silk screen, intaglios, etchings, and graphic design. Other reproductions of art work and posters are not eligible.
Does the tax-exempt sale of art apply to living artists only?
No. The law does not permit a distinction between art created by living or deceased artists. All art that meets the definition above is exempt from sales taxes.
Are photographs and prints considered “original” works of art?
Because of their nature, limited editions (up to 100) of some forms of art are specifically included in the definition.
In the definition of original art what is meant by “commercially produced”?
The Division of the Arts has settled on the language “conceived and made by the hand of the artist or under his direction and not intended for mass production”
Will there be a form signed by the artist that certifies their intention that the work is original, not intended for mass reproduction?
Yes, the Louisiana Department of Revenue has developed a form for vendors to use to certify the authenticity of original art. The vendor is responsible for securing the authentication required by the rules.
Do recurring arts events within a Cultural District have to have the same vendors to be “established”?
Events do not have to have the same vendors. It is up to the event organizers to determine who participates in an art event and to provide exemptions certifications and reporting instructions to eligible vendors. The law requires the sales tax exemption when the item is sold from an “established location.” An established location is defined in the rules as any location within the boundaries of the cultural district.
Are vendors or artists from out-of-state eligible for tax exempt sales?
The law does not permit a distinction between in-state vendors versus out-of- state vendors OR in-state artists versus out-of-state artists. The question is merely (a) whether the item meets the definition of art (as defined in the statute and rule) and (b) whether the item is sold from an established location within a cultural district.
In New Orleans there are many monthly festivals that would take place within a Cultural District. Would they be included in the exemption?
Yes. Sales of qualifying original art from festivals, arts markets, and street vendors will all be exempt from sales taxes so long as the location is within the boundaries of the cultural district. It is the responsibility of the event sponsor to make sure the vendors know the procedures to conduct tax exempt sales.
Preservation Tax Credits
If your property is in a Cultural District and a DDD or MS district can you get the tax credit twice?
No. You can get both commercial and residential credits if the property is multi-use and the owner resides there, and you can get both federal and state tax credits for eligible properties, but you cannot get double the state credit for properties in more than one type of eligible district.
Does a building have to be historically significant to get Historic tax credits?
Not necessarily. If a building is fifty years or older and in a Cultural District it may be eligible for historic tax credits. Each property owner should contact the Division of Historic Preservation to determine eligibility. For more information, click here.