Taxation and French Law


Why invest in works of living artists to the benefit of private individuals, professionals and companies





Whether you are an individual or a company manager, there are clear provisions in the French Law intended to provide you support if you want to invest in Art and living Artists.


For Individuals


In France the works of art are subjected to a very specific and attractive tax system.


  1. Wealth Tax exemption : Works of art, whatever their nature, are not subjet to the Solidarity tax on Wealth (Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune). To that extent they are not mentioned in the declaration of the ISF and the amounts spent on acquisition are not taxable. This tax provision is applicable to both paintings, drawings, gouaches, watercolors, sculptures and bronzes.

  2. Capital gains Tax : In case of resale the situation varies depending on whether the seller has an invoice or not. If he has an invoice, he may opt either for a 5% lump-sum taxation or for the application of the capital gains tax regime (identical system to that applicable to capital gains on property with exemption after 21 years). If he doesn't have an invoice, the seller must pay only the 5% tax, to be paid by the intermediary on behalf of the seller.

  3. Heritage transmission : Under certain conditions, the works of art can be included, in case of inheritance, in the 5% package of movable furniture. Acceptance in lieu of certain taxes: the Law allows owners of works of art to pay certain taxes by proposing a work to the State in return for the rights owed.



 For Companies


For a company, the purchase of an original artwork can be deducted from his annual income, the purchase price of the work, under certain conditions :


  1. The Works must be performed by living Artists, and should be exposed in a public area accessible to employees, clients, suppliers, during the amortization period of the work, that is 5 years. 

  2. The Tax deduction carried out under each exercise should not exceed 5% of the company's annual turnover. The deduction will be 20% of the purchase price of the work during 5 years.

  3. The original Works of living Artists are excluded from the professional tax basis. 

  4. Companies also receive a tax reduction equal to 60% of the payments made in favour of associations and cultural foundations.


Practical example :

A company has an annual turnover of 2 M €, it may deduct annually up to 5% of its turnover, that is 10.000 €, by purchasing a work (or more) of a living artist for that amount. During 5 years it can deduct 20%


  • either 2.000 € per year, for the annual benefit of the company, 

  • or a tax gain for the company of : (2.000 x 5) = 10.000 € x 33.33 % = 3.333 € over 5 years.

  • The tax cost of the acquired work is no more than : 10.000 € - 3.333 € = 6.667 € all taxes included.


In return, the company must expose the work for 5 years in a location accessible to employees, clients or suppliers of the company excluding individual offices. It must register a sum equal to the annual allowance to a special reserve account, on the liability side of the balance sheet.