Panel members from the Professional Advisors to the International Art Market.

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Following The British Art Market Federation’s (BAMF) report to government in July, experts have created policy documents focusing on 10 areas relating to the art market including endangered species, consumer protection, customs and tax.

Members of the Professional Advisors to the International Art Market (PAIAM) told the Art Business Conference last week that VAT is one of the top priorities for the art market. BAMF is lobbying for government to maintain the current margin scheme but is calling to end import VAT.

The PAIAM document, by Nigel Medhurst at accountants Rawlinson & Hunter, argues that government should at “the very least” not increase import VAT from the current 5%.

Any rise would “produce modest incremental tax revenues at best and could possibly be counter-productive and act as a brake on the art market overall”, the accountants suggest.

Delegates were also warned of the likely increased cost of regularly transacting with the EU and the implications of goods crossing a ‘hard border’.

Craig Davies of Rawlinson & Hunter told delegates that, if they transact regularly with the EU, to expect delays at customs, with shipping experts suggesting in excess of two hours, when moving goods across the border between the UK and the EU.

He warned that this transport time could “soar significantly” with transport costs “rising dramatically”.

The use of temporary admissions, which allows importers of art and antiques to delay or avoid payment of VAT, will become “more prominent”.


Lawyer Pierre Valentin at Constantine Cannon, a leading member of PAIAM.

Lawyer Pierre Valentin at Constantine Cannon, a leading member of PAIAM, explained the group’s role in representing art market issues to government.

“We are not a lobbying body – rather we are simply a resource. We aim to assist parliament and government in making informed decisions on legislative changes to EU laws, once they have been copied into English law, in the interest of the British art sector.”