“work of art”

Helvetian tax systems and art

Geneva, 22 November 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). Switzerland is often designated as a tax paradise: the rates there are interesting, but they do not make part of a real refuge that could be some Caribbean islands for example. The bank secret and its numerous free harbours are two important assets that attract the business and make this country an important place in the art market. The free harbours (Geneva, Basel, Zurich…) that were highly attractive at the era of customs barriers now conserve their popularity. When it comes to art works, the import on Swiss territory is free of customs tax. So, the zones of free exchange are a big advantage concerning the VAT. The merchandise could be stocked with no additional taxes over the buying price. What should be paid, though, is the stocking in warehouses situated on those free harbours. For the rest, the Helvetian tax system functions in the same manner like in the majority of the countries: at the entry in possession, at the holding and at the sale of the goods. For the import of art works in Switzerland the VAT should fulfil the rate of 8% of the sale price to which is added the accessory taxes such as the transport and the insurance. No VAT is applied for an art work imported directly by the artist who created the painting or the sculpture. The import of temporary admission is also free of all taxes under certain conditions. For a purchase on Swiss territory there would be no problem concerning the custom taxes and only the VAT will be applied. A Helvetian collector will thus settle in case of a purchase from a tax-liable Swiss trader of a VAT of 8% calculated in the majority of the cases on the margin made by the seller. The...

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