French Consider Art VAT Increase, Dealers Balk

FIAC. (Getty Images)
FIAC. (Getty Images)

The French government is mulling a plan to raise its VAT on artworks imported from outside the European Union from 7 to 10 percent, and some in the country’s art business are not so happy, The Art Newspaper reports.

Guillaume Cerutti, the CEO of Sotheby’s France, Paris dealer Franck Prazan and Georges-Philippe Vallois, who heads the French gallery association, have compiled a report stating that the tax hike could adversely affect the country’s art market.

The increase to 10 percent would bring France’s VAT to double that of the United Kingdom (where it is 5 percent) if the change is instituted. “An international American gallery that is weighing up participating in either Frieze or FIAC would be tempted to invite clients to its stand in London, rather than in Paris,” the report states.

Which, maybe. But I find it hard to believe that a 3 percent jump in tax on the sale price—or even a 5 percent difference versus London—would seriously dissuade many collectors from pulling the trigger. No doubt a few would hold off, but if you’re dropping five or six or more figures on art and find a 3 or 5 percent sales tax increase worrying you, you may be in the wrong game. Just my two cents.

The French cabinet will take up the issue this month. Read the full story in The Art Newspaper.

The new VAT would hit in January, so you have at least one more FIAC (which runs Oct. 24–27) to go wild. French Consider Art VAT Increase, Dealers Balk