Saturday, December 18, 2010
European Commission declares light and video-sound installations not "art"
The classification is crucial for it means that "full VAT (value added tax, which goes up to 20% next year) and customs dues" will be payable when video and light works are imported from outside the EU to any EU member state since the decision is binding on all members. In this case, the works in question were six Viola video-sound installations imported by Haunch of Venison from the US in 2006 and a Flavin light sculpture. Had the European Commission agreed with the UK's VAT and Duties Tribunal that ruled such works were indeed "art", their import would only have given rise to a 5% VAT charge. The Art Newspaper reports on the questionable grounds for the decision and includes commentary from leading art lawyer Pierre Valentin (of Withers, London).