The Law: The Taxman Loseth

The old grad gives 100 shares of stock worth $8,187 to his alma mater and deducts $8,187 from his income tax. The merchant donates a $99.50 TV set to a hospital and deducts $99.50. But what about a work of art that hasn't gone through an auction? Who knows its current worth? The problem was put to a covey of "qualified experts," testifying under oath before a federal jury in Texas. Their estimates, as they tried to fix the value of a single painting, ranged from $20,000 to $500,000.

The painting in question was a 15th century altar triptych called the Retable...

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