In Mexico, artists can pay their taxes with artwork
MEXICO CITY — Can't afford to pay your income taxes? Paint a picture instead.
That's the deal Mexico has offered to artists since 1957, quietly amassing a modern art collection that would make most museum curators swoon. As the 2009 tax deadline approaches, tax collectors are getting ready to receive a whole new crop of masterworks.
"It's really an amazing concept," says José San Cristóbal Larrea, director of the program. "We're helping out artists while building a cultural inheritance for the country."
There's a sliding scale: If you sell five artworks in a year, you must give the government one. Sell 21 pieces, the government gets six. A 10-member jury of artists ensures that no one tries to unload junk.
The government displays these treasures in Mexican museums and government offices and, increasingly, loans them out for special exhibitions around the world. Other works are stored in a huge, climate-controlled warehouse in Mexico City.
Certainly an interesting approach.
I think I read somewhere that the Republic of Ireland doesn't tax artists at all, i.e., no income tax on sales of paintings, sculpture, &c, nor on book royalties.