Art: The Baroness' Income Tax

The spreading practice of using art to get dubious tax deductions received a significant legal setback last week.

Gifts of art to museums and schools are usually legitimate charitable deductions, but the practice is open to abuse. A collector more interested in his taxes than in public beneficence can get some "expert" to put a high evaluation (citing the rising art market) on a cheaply obtained painting, then give it away and claim a big write-off. The Bureau of Internal Revenue has shied away from contesting these appraisals, feeling incompetent to judge art, but reputable connoisseurs and galleries have grown uneasy for...

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