Art Assets: Tax Advantages Still Preserved

Wealth planning - 10/20/2015

An art lover wishing to acquire a work of art will find the tax advantages of this investment still preserved. In terms of wealth tax (Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune or “ISF”), works of art – whether old or contemporary – are among the goods that are totally exempt and have been since the tax was first created in the '80s, akin to the exemption on professional tools for entrepreneurs. But be careful, the fact that an object may be considered a work of art in the eye of the beholder, does not necessarily qualify it as such in the tax man’s eyes!

​For the Tax Authorities, what Qualifies as an ISF-Exempt Work of Art?

Paintings and drawings. To be exempt, they must have been executed entirely by hand, regardless of the material and substrate used.

Photographs. They have to have been taken by the artist or under the artist's control, must be signed and numbered, up to a maximum of 30 copies, all formats and media combined.

Statues and sculptures. Regardless of the material used, here again it has to have been executed by the artist by hand. When the artist creates models, the models are also considered to be original works of art. Castings made from the mould of the first work are also works of art if they are limited in number and the casting is controlled by the artist or the artist's studio.

Without going into detail about how they are defined by the tax authorities, rugs and tapestries, engravings, original etch prints and lithographs, ceramics, enamelled copper, and certain types of stamps also benefit from ISF exemption.

So do antiques more than a hundred years old and certain collectables that have real artistic or cultural interest and are valued as such by the art market ("Art nouveau" or "Art déco" furniture, for example).


Entrepreneurs, Focus on Living Artists!

Since 2002, companies have an incentive to acquire original works of art by living artists. They can deduct their cost from the company's profits in the year of acquisition and the next four years (up to 0.5% of each year's business revenue). But be careful, the work must be exhibited to the public or employees throughout the entire deduction period.

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