Rawlinson & Hunter's Craig Davies described “potential advantages” relating to changes in the current VAT margin scheme. However he raised concerns that experts are predicting delays in excess of two hours when moving goods across the border.
Davies said: “This obviously has a wider impact than just the art world and has a significant cost impact.”
He was speaking at the conference as part of a panel formed by The Professional Advisors to the International Art Market (PAIAM), a group which has now published detailed memorandums on the impact of Brexit which will now be delivered to The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
The PAIAM policy documents detail 10 areas of focus relating to the art market including endangered species, consumer protection, customs and tax. The government will produce a white paper this autumn which is expected to give further clarity.
Lawyer Pierre Valentin at Constantine Cannon, a leading member of PAIAM, said: “Our members have a great deal of expertise. We are not a lobbying body but we are a resource of expertise.”
Wendy Philips, head of tax and heritage at Sotheby's, said: “Business wants certainty. No one knows where the end of the road is. Transitional arrangements will help but we are not clear.
“The importance of industry lobbying I cannot emphasise enough. We are fortunate that we have people such as Anthony Browne at BAMF who are thinking ahead anticipating all sorts of results.”
At the end of the event, delegates at the conference were asked to vote on the whether the UK leaving both the single market and the customs union would have a positive or negative impact.
More than 80% of the audience viewed such a scenario as having a negative impact on the art market.