Art & Taxation Afternoon Seminar

Posted on: June 8, 2018 by

Ruth Cornett from Christie’s speaking at the seminar.

Yesterday, on Thursday the 7th June, the Institute of Art and Law held an afternoon seminar at the Swedenborg Society, with the gracious support of Hunters Solicitors.

The focus of the day was Art and Taxation, drawing together a dynamic programme of topics including, tax planning, tax incentives, disputes and VAT in relation to art and cultural property.

Jonathan Godwin-Austen, a partner at Hunters Solicitors, spoke eloquently on ‘Art Collectors, Art Dealers and Tax Planning’, providing an overview of capital taxes and popular planning options.

The panel discussion on ‘Tax-Based Incentives and Cultural Property’, brought the conditional exemption scheme, the acceptance in lieu scheme and the cultural gifts scheme to life with colourful examples of art works successfully donated to the State, or on permanent loan to major institutions.  Mike Neill, Director of Estates, Tax and Cultural Heritage at Bonhams, Ruth Cornett, Director of the Heritage & Taxation Advisory Service at Christie’s and Clarissa Vallat, Director of Heritage and UK Museums at Sotheby’s, demonstrated their expertise in this area and provided attendees with insight into the working relationship between HMRC and the country’s leading auction houses.

The panel discussion was followed by James Rivett, a barrister at Pump Court Tax Chambers, who gave an entertaining talk on litigation relating to artistic merit and what qualifies as art for the purposes of tax, as well as tax issues arising in technical cases and in licensing arrangements.  As tax disputes in relation to art are rarely public, James had a captive audience. He was followed by Roderick Cordara QC of Essex Court Chambers, who spoke knowledgeably on ‘VAT and Art Arrangements’.  As a leading expert in his field, his talk initiated a lively Q&A and musings on the future of such arrangements post-Brexit.

Elizabeth Emerson, an associate at White & Case, concluded proceedings with a summary of the unusual case of the Portrait of Omai, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, being classed as a wasting asset for the purposes of capital gains tax (the Henderskelfe case).

Hunters Solicitors generously provided a food and drinks reception, which facilitated the opportunity for attendees and speakers to come together to discuss art and taxation, and network into the evening.

For a list of upcoming events, please click here.