California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

April 10, 2012Mary Beth Barber

At least $250,000 needed to save "Tax Checkoff for the Arts"

The opportunity to donate to the California Arts Council through state tax returns may be in jeopardy if minimum isn't met this year

Sacramento -

Californians can donate to the arts on their state tax returns this year – but that may go away if the amount collected in 2012 doesn't meet the minimum $250,000. Arts lovers, advocates and celebrities like Maria Shriver are encouraging Californians to Check Off the Arts on their taxes this year and support the California Arts Council.


The story has been spreading through social media for about a week, especially after the Arts Council's plight was revealed in a Los Angeles Times blog. On April 5, Maria Shriver tweeted, "Cali residents: Be sure to check off the arts on yr taxes this year to donate $1 to the @CalArtsCouncil." Shriver's tweet and the news article have been circulating through Facebook and Twitter as the individual tax deadline filing date approaches. (See LA Times article at


"The California Arts Council asks that Californians who support the arts consider giving a little on their state taxes this year to the Arts Council Fund," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "These funds are essential to the Arts Council programs that support local arts for communities and children. Even small donations add up in ways that help keep the arts alive in our schools and local communities."


Last year was the first time the Arts Council Fund was included on the state return, and more than 16,000 taxpayers donated over $160,000 to the Arts Council Fund on their tax returns in 2011 to support arts for California’s children and communities. The Arts Council Fund needs to reach at least $250,000 in 2012 for it to be included as a "Voluntary Contribution" selection in future years.


Individuals may make tax-deductible contributions in amounts of $1 or more. Arts supporters who use accounting services should tell their tax preparers about contributing to the Arts Council Fund, and encourage others to pursue this opportunity to support California arts. The Arts Council Fund was included after the passage of SB 1076 by Senator Curren Price in 2009, citing the importance of the arts for California and the anticipated desire by Californians to directly contribute to the arts.


Members of the media may contact: Mary Beth Barber, Information Officer, at 916-322-6588 or  Individuals interested in detailed information on the Franchise Tax Board’s voluntary contribution should contact Marilyn Nielsen, Deputy Director, at 916-322-6404 or  For more information on the California Arts Council, please go to .

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the Arts and Creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Vice Chair William Turner, Wylie Aitken, Michael Alexander, Andrew Green, Adam Hubbard, Charmaine Jefferson, Terry Lenihan, Susan Steinhauser, and Rosalind Wyman.

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