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WA State will make art collectors pay use tax

May 26, 2005

State will make art collectors pay use tax:

The Department of Revenue said yesterday that it will begin to aggressively pursue art collectors who do not pay the taxes they owe on works purchased out of state. The agency said it will first launch an educational campaign to make sure collectors know they owe the tax, then vigorously enforce a law that has been largely ignored by the art world since it went on the books in 1935.

The DOR also decided yesterday that collectors must pay taxes on their out-of-state purchases even if they are on display in museums.

As the son of an artist this is simply appalling. Art is an aesthetic enhancement of an area, just like a nice couch or piece of furniture. I can understand a sales tax, but a “use tax”. WTF? If you want to get more technical you can also view art as an investment vehicle. Look at the auction houses – you don’t see the prices of major works falling do you? Nope.

If you click on the “sound off” link there’s some interesting responses from folks … most of which I completely disagree with. This idiots complain about folks trying to duck taxes where possible and use loopholes. Right, and I’m sure NONE of those people who wrote have ever fudged a deduction figure on their taxes for how much they donated to Good Will last year. Nope, they all LOVE paying taxes and do it with glee. BULLSHIT.

My dad and I had a conversation when he was out visiting a few weeks ago about the future of art collecting and what the demographics are of folks who are buying these days. Now don’t get me wrong, I love art and have a bunch of it hanging on my walls (mostly from my dad but we have made a few purchases) but I’ll be damned if I am going to pay a friggin’ use tax for the privilege of the government letting me look at art I already own!

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