Arts museum addresses tax issues

By Ling Mei-hsueh and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 - Page 5

The Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts is organizing a conference on Dec. 14 and 15 to give people a better understanding of the monetary and taxation aspects of artwork transactions.

The seminar will address questions frequently asked by people unfamiliar with the local art collector’s market, such as: “Can I make a tax deduction on purchasing a work of art?” “What is the benefit of donating works of art to public institutions?” and “After purchasing a work of art, could I make more money by selling it at auction?”

Serious art collectors have a working knowledge of the circulation, prices, donation and tax implications of works of art. However, most people are unaware of the potential pitfalls, and some have had to pay a hefty price for donating works of art.

Many people believe that holding works of art in a private collection or donating artwork to public institutions can bring savings through tax deductions.

However, when an artist donated some of his paintings to the museum earlier this year, the National Tax Administration sent him a hefty tax bill.

The case caused quite a stir, with many people questioning the tax agency’s move.

Museum officials say they have a limited budget, and a large part of the museum’s collection came from private donations. The museum relies on donors to enrich its collection, they said.

However, they said that donations may still be considered “income” for tax purposes.

For most people, donating works of art involves many pitfalls due to the complexities of taxation regulations, such as the annual limit on the value of artwork donations, and not all institutions are authorized to appraise works of art. These issues may influence the good intentions of donors and end up costing them money instead of enabling them to claim a tax deduction.

With these topics in mind, the museum decided to present the seminar, with the theme of “Discussion on the artwork transaction market, donation of works of art to museums and the derived taxation issues.”

For artists, their families and private art collectors, the seminar seeks to answer questions on donating, selling, gifting or inheriting works of art, as well as the legal issues, rights and responsibilities involved.

The conference will also address the topic of current management policies at art museums as these institutions face the ever-changing needs of society while guarding the public interest in playing the role of the government’s public art treasury.

The museum is inviting presentations and specialized papers from experts and academics.

Registration for the seminar can be done on the museum’s Web site, www.kmfa.gov.tw/KMFAENG. The registration deadline is Wednesday next week.