Evan’s corner: Evan at the Tax Institute

Written by: Evan Lowenstein
For those of you who may have noticed that I have been more distracted than usual at the office over the past few months, it was because I have been preparing a major paper on The Taxation of Art and Collectables for the Tax Institute.
Over a casual discussion with one of the tax partners at the large legal firm of Holmes Wilkinson Lowry (HWL0 I was asked if I would be interested in delivering a paper to the Institute’s monthly breakfast meeting. One was to be one held at Leonda in Hawthorn and a day later there was another meeting down in Geelong.
Previously, I had not been so aware of the Tax Institute but I found that they are an excellent resource for tax accountants and lawyers for education and research.
The topic was of interest to them due their awareness of Lowensteins’ initiation of the Save Super Art Campaign that commenced in 2010 to try and stop the implementation of the ATO’s restrictions being placed upon Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) from buying art and collectables.
I eagerly agreed to talk to my fellow accountants about tax issues related to collecting art without realising the scope of the job ahead. I spent many hours preparing the paper and, as a separate exercise, I was also required to prepare an hour long talk based on my paper.
In addition to enabling me to claim all my professional hours in one hit, it was also very useful exercise for me to gain up-to-the-minute understanding of the taxation aspects of acquiring and later disposing of art; and also the most tax effective way to structure our clients affairs to try and maximise the benefits.
I was ably assisted by Alana Kushnir, who is a specialised arts lawyer and founder of the GuestWork Agency – a legal firm in Melbourne devoted to looking after artists. I came into contact with Alana at last years Sydney Contemporary Art Fair where she was on a panel discussing the future of blockchain technology and the arts.
For our tax seminars, she gave an introduction into the basic elements of the art world and identified who the major players are. Alana also provided an insight in to the government’s Cultural Gifts Program that offers tax incentives to encourage people to donate cultural items to public art galleries, museums, libraries and archives in Australia.
Despite a large chunk of my social life being eaten away by this exercise, it was nevertheless an extremely fulfilling exercise and actually quite enjoyable.
Please feel free to read our paper that is accessible via this link here: