No, You Can’t Get a Tax Deduction for Artwork You Donate to Charity
Art Law

No, You Can’t Get a Tax Deduction for Artwork You Donate to Charity

(graphic Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic, original image via Last month, I wrote about how the tax law passed in 2017 — officially the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) — will soon bring big changes to charitable giving . Based on reader feedback, I now want to address a longstanding practice regarding charitable giving in the art world that needs to end. I’ve written on this topic before for Art F City, but the practice continues in the art world, and it bears revisiting. This practice usually begins with a conversation: director of non-profit X asks artist Y to donate an artwork for an upcoming fundraiser (or sometimes its a for-profit organization soliciting work for a charity fundraiser). Artist Y is hesitant — he’s been asked for work from five different organizations in the last month. The arts organization director makes a vague mention of tax deductions, and so the artist agrees to donate a small painting. A few months after the benefit, the artist opens a letter from the organization, saying thanks for the donated work, and listing its sale price. With this seemingly official letter in hand, it’s easy for the artist to conclude that they can deduct that […]

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