Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Avant-Garde Art and the VAT

Rachel J. Tischler (J.D. 2013, Brooklyn), Note, "The Power to Tax Involves the Power to Destroy": How Avant-Garde Art Outstrips the Imagination of Regulators, and Why a Judicial Rubric Can Save It, 77 Brook. L. Rev. 1665 (2012):

This note will begin in Part I with brief overviews of Minimalist Art and Conceptual Art, paying particular attention to the public reception of⎯and reactions to⎯shifting trends in artworks over time and geography. Part II will give a brief explanation of the legislative systems at work in the European Community, as well as an introduction to the European value-added tax system. Part III of this note will discuss various instances of courts, both in the United States and abroad, attempting to navigate the intersection of artwork and customs duties and taxation. Part IV will explore various approaches to protection for conceptual and visual artworks, giving special attention to problems encountered by the more difficult cases. That part will conclude with a suggested method for evaluation and classification of artworks that can be applied by courts and legislators, domestically and abroad, that leaves intact both the artists’ intentions and their artworks’ integrity. This note will conclude with a brief discussion of how similar VAT or flat-tax systems implemented in the United States could lead to comparable difficulties in U.S. courts and legislatures.

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