Skip to comments.Value: $0, Taxes: $40 Million
Posted on 07/24/2012 12:37:23 AM PDT by Altariel
This weeks winner of the you-cant-make-this-stuff-up contest is undoubtedly a front-page story in this mornings New York Times. When New York art dealer Ileana Sonnabend died in 2007, she left her children a fabulous collection of modern art valued at $1 billion. Her children have already paid $471 million in estate taxes on the collection, being forced to sell off most of it to meet the bill. (This is a beautiful example, by the way, of why estate taxes should be abolished and replaced with a capital gains tax on inherited assetsthe collection, an artistic whole in itself, had to be destroyed to pay the taxes due.)
But there is one item in the collection, a work by Robert Rauschenberg that cannot be sold. It contains a stuffed bald eagle and under the terms of the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the 1918 Migratory Bird Act, it is a felony to possess, sell, purchase, barter, transport, import or export any bald eagle alive or dead. The estate, advised by three experts, including one from Christies, therefore, valued the work at zero. The IRS decided it was worth $65 million, and is demanding $29.2 million in taxes and $11 million in penalties because the heirs inaccurately stated its value.
The trouble, of course, is that the heirs didnt inaccurately state its value. Anything that cannot, for whatever reason, be sold, is worth zero by economic definition. The value of anything is only what someone else is willing to pay for it. And to pay a dime for this particular artwork would be to commit a federal felony. To sell it for a dime would be to commit a federal felony.
The IRS has an Art Advisory Panel, that provides expert advice on the value of art works involved in estates. It was the panel that decided it was worth $65 million. Stephanie Barron, a member of the panel and an art curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, said that, Its a stunning work of art and we all just cringed at the idea of saying that this had zero value. It just didnt make any sense.
It makes perfect sense and Ms. Barrons statement is a classic example of the fallacy of the just price, that things have inherent value independent of the marketplace. They may have artistic value, emotional value, religious value, etc. But if they cannot be sold then they have no monetary value because they cannot be converted into money.
The IRS Art Advisory Board, I assume, is made up of art experts. It should add an economist to give the other board members a lesson in economics 101 when necessary. And the IRS should have someone empowered to tell the Bureau, Are you crazy? This will make us look like idiots, and vindictive idiots at that.
So we are going to fight over people’s final financial health when they die? Really? Obviously you hang around people who didn’t have a simple plan. I know people who make me look like a pauper. I guess it comes down to principles and who you hang with. I like to hang with responsible people who know they have to prepare for retirement....You? Perhaps not since you feel that people don’t have a large amount of money to keep them from taking government funding. In the end, who cares....Really. You should be trying to help the people you hang with get some responsibility for themselves.
You spout wacky stuff...and never back it up.
You've out and out lied about me...Making stuff up to what end...heaven knows.
People call you on stuff you say...and you either ignore it..or deny it.
You've a history here....and YOU talk about responsibility? You've none.
I don't search your posts out...because I know you are nutty. But when I see them I will reply.
Dude your the one who comes to my posts everyday. I have never sought you out. You are the problem not me. Sorry you have a crappy life....It is NOT my fault.
I don't search your moronic posts out.
I run across your wrong headed and dumb ass posts......and I respond to them.
You have an M.O. Many here know it.
Most just think you are looney...and don't counter your goofy posts. I kinda think it's interesting, as to why you are here....So I respond.
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