Spain's Cultural Minister is open to reviewing the high rates
Jose Ignacio Wert, Spain's Minister of Education, Culture, and Sport together with Cristóbal Montoro, Finance Minister, reported last week that they are open to reviewing the country's culture tax, VAT. Currently the highest on the continent, Spain's 21% VAT is credited with driving cultural consumers away from Spanish galleries and causing patrons to forego museum visits. The rate jumped significantly in September of 2012 from 8% - 21% and now discussion is centering around a new figure of 13% for the tax. Discussion of reduction followed a proposal from José Antonio Monago, Spanish autonomous region of Extremadura, to reduce exchange of cultural goods and services which include sale and import of artworks, entrance fees to private museums, and tickets to cinema and theater.
Optimism has been meeting with reality. Though Mongao called in May for a reduction of the VAT that would put Spain more on par with the rest of Europe, most have a rate of less than 10%, the lag time continues to impact Spanish Galleries. Gallery owner and President of a collection of Spanish galleries, Alberto de Juan, too has been meeting with pertinent ministries to push for change. De Juan has endeavored to show that the Spanish Government too will loose if Spanish galleries can not compete with the international market. While de Juan has "full faith that the government will reduce VAT" he reminds us the "problem is when" (Rojas, The Art Newspaper).
Full story in the The Art Newspaper