Bush Tax Cuts' Bias Against Art Being Fought
Finally the art world is preparing to fight back. From the Financial Times (but via the FirsTnews site, which doesn't charge), we learn:
The "Visual Arts Alliance" might need to change their name (that moniker's already been claimed by a group from Houston), but it looks as if they might be a force to deal with (and a very pro-artist force at that!):
Leading US art dealers have joined with auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's in a big push to reduce the capital gains tax on art and collectibles, in the industry's first lobbying effort in almost 20 years. [...]
Gilbert Edelson, the counsel for the Art Dealers' Association, said: "The internal revenue code is unfair to artists and to collectors. The art industry is one of few that until now has not done anything about legislation, but there has been a growing movement that we should do something about this."
He said the British Art Market Federation had been lobbying effectively for some time in Britain, and the US had looked to this as an example of what might be achieved.
The dealers' association, an invitation-only group of 160 members, has formed the Visual Arts Alliance with the two auction houses, to represent their group effort, and hired two Washington lobbyists to put their case.
As a result of the alliance's efforts, Senators Pete Domenici, a Republican, and Charles Schumer, a Democrat, in June introduced the Art and Collectibles Capital Gains Tax Treatment Parity Act, which would make art and collectibles taxed at the same rate as other assets.Now Senators introduce bills to appease rich contributors that don't stand a snowball's chance in hell all the time, and of course the old adage of "be careful what you wish for" applies nowhere as much as it does for groups who want more of the Federal government's attention, but this adjustment is only fair. What should be interesting is watching the Congresscritters who love tax breaks but hate the arts contort themselves into some sellable position on this. Stay tuned.
The bill also aims to correct a discrepancy which penalises artists. A collector who donates an artwork to a museum is able to claim the donation as a tax deduction, at its fair market value. However, an artist who donates their own work to a museum is allowed to claim only the cost of materials, such as paint and canvas. The bill would allow artists to claim the fair market value of their donation in the same way as collectors.