Gallerists write to Franceschini: reduce VAT on works to boost system

ANGAMC, the association that brings together Italian gallery owners, has written to Franceschini to ask for a reduction in VAT on artworks in order to boost the supply chain.

Reducing VAT on works of art in order to boost thecontemporary art supply chain: this is the proposal thatANGAMC (National Association of Modern and Contemporary Art Galleries) has addressed to Culture Minister Dario Franceschini. ANGAMC’s proposal takes its cue from a very specific precedent: on May 18, in fact, a proposal to revise the VAT Directive (2006/112/EC), aimed at applying reduced VAT rates to the trade in works of art as well, was first put on the agenda of the Council of the European Union by German Culture Minister Monika Grütters, in order to give oxygen to the economic recovery of a sector severely affected by the pandemic.

According to ANGAMC, a reduced VAT rate would benefit the entire art supply chain: artists and creatives, intermediaries, agencies, publishers and galleries. It would benefit private individuals, who often take great economic risks to support an artist, just as obvious would be the benefits for gallery owners and museums, which could expand their collections and contribute to the public enjoyment of art, present and future. ANGAMC, the only voice at the Italian level representing the category of gallerists, has accepted the request for support for the initiative received from FEAGA (Federation of European Art Galleries Association), of which it is a member, and is asking the Italian minister of culture to support the proposal made by Germany at the European level.

FEAGA’s appeal has won the support of trade associations in a number of European countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal, which have already approached their Minister of Culture. “As ANGAMC,” stresses President Mauro Stefanini in his letter sent to Minister Franceschini on May 20, “we believe that the concretization of the German proposal would finally constitute tangible support for the cultural and creative sector, repeatedly announced at the European level. The application of reduced VAT rates for the art trade would indeed be a useful support tool for all actors in the art world, in all member states. Finally, the European Union would make an effort to strengthen its art market, which is currently squeezed between the U.S. and China, which lead the sector with 42 percent and 28 percent market share, respectively (Italy is below 1 percent!). In addition, VAT reduction would be a useful cultural policy tool, which also in the past has helped to give breath to the ingenuity and creativity of the cultural world and make art accessible to a wide audience.”

By reducing the VAT rate, art galleries could partially remedy the difficulties they are experiencing. In the coming years, in fact, it is estimated that 45 percent of Italian galleries may be forced to close or go abroad, stifled by taxation, bureaucracy and unequal competition from foreign competitors. For every art gallery that closes, a chance for growth is taken away for Italian artists, who see their livelihood and profession at risk. ANGAMC argues that it is galleries that discover artists and invest in their market positioning, and it is galleries that resist the Amazon-ization of the art trade, and value art, rather than consume it. The ANGAMC board of directors, acting as the spokesperson for the more than 200 member art galleries spread throughout the country, therefore calls on the Italian government to support the German proposal by taking concrete action in the European sphere for the application of a reduced VAT rate on the art trade.

In the photo: Milan, Galleria Lampertico

Gallerists write to Franceschini: reduce VAT on works to boost system
Gallerists write to Franceschini: reduce VAT on works to boost system

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