Artistic Works Sales Tax Exemption


The sales tax is a levy imposed on the retail sale, rental or lease of many goods and services. Any sale is a retail sale if the property or service sold will be used and not resold in the regular course of business. Rhode Island has a sales tax exemption for certain artistic works, so anyone with the exemption does not have to charge sales tax on sales made within the state. You must apply for the sales tax exemption, and any entity making retail sales in Rhode Island is subject to sales tax.

What is covered.

The exemption covers original and creative works, either one-of-a-kind or limited edition. These works must NOT be consumable, or created for commercial or industry oriented production. A work includes: a book or other writing; a play; a musical composition; a painting, print, photograph, or drawing; a sculpture; traditional and fine craft; the creation of a film; and/or the creation of a dance. Works can be fiction or nonfiction, and crafts can be functional or nonfunctional.

Limited edition means the creation of a self-published solitary work, conceived and produced by the artist under their direction, which is intended for limited reproduction. The reproduction must total no more than 300 copies, and must be physically signed and numbered by the artist. This can include books, giclée prints, and photographs.

All works must NOT be consumable, so things like candles, soap, and plants are NOT eligible for the exemption.

The exemption only covers sales made in Rhode Island. If you are selling online or in another state, you may need to pay sales tax in the state the sale is made.

How to Apply.

First, you will need to apply for and receive a sales tax permit from the state of Rhode Island. Any entity, including individual artists and nonprofits, making retail sales in the state is required to obtain a permit. For more information on Rhode Island’s Sales & Use Tax, including how to apply for a permit, visit the Division of Taxation’s website:

Once you receive your sales tax permit, you will fill out the Application for Sales Tax Exemption for Artistic Works. You need to either mail this form or drop in off in person to: State of Rhode Island, Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation, Field Audit Section, One Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908-5800.

Need Help or Have Questions?

For questions about the sales tax permit or end of year reconciliations, contact the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. You can visit their website at; email the audit and investigation unit at; or call the office at (401)574-8962.

For questions about completing the sales tax exemption application or if you are eligible for the exemption, contact Mollie Flanagan at the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts at