|Object donated to the Walters Art Museum.|
Source: AAMD Object Directory
IRS Publication 526 discusses charitable contributions in general and explains how donating property such as art and antiquities to a qualified organization can provide an income tax deduction to the donor. A donor may also steer clear of capital gains taxes on appreciated assets by donating antiquities.
IRS Publication 561 discusses paintings, antiques, and other art objects. Any antiquities that are worth $5001 or more "should be supported by a written appraisal from a qualified and reputable source." An appraisal is mandatory for any cultural object valued at $20,000 or more. The IRS writes, "If you claim a deduction of $20,000 or more for donations of art, you must attach a complete copy of the signed appraisal to your return. For individual objects valued at $20,000 or more, a photograph of a size and quality fully showing the object, preferably an 8 x 10 inch color photograph or a color transparency no smaller than 4 x 5 inches, must be provided upon request." The determination of authenticity for tax purposes is made by a qualified appraiser.
The IRS gives examples of what information should be included in a description of donated property, including:
- the name of the artist or culture,
- the approximate date of creation,
- the cost of acquisition,
- the date of acquisition,
- the manner of acquisition,
- a history of the item,
- proof of authenticity, and
- the facts on which the appraisal was based.
These appraisal and tax forms may supply important authenticity and collecting history information to a museum's provenance curator or other official as a museum determines whether to accept the gift of an antiquity from a donor.
This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text copyrighted 2012 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com