The large unified art market constituted by the EU was certainly a boon to all concerned. Prepare for complications ahead, as new import and export rules come into effect after Brexit.

Here we explain key technical issues involved in buying, selling and loaning art works.

If you have any questions about this topic or other Brexit related topics, please get in touch.

Are there any issues for a UK resident who wants to import an artwork from the USA

Under current UK tax rules, the effective rate of import tax on the import of the work of art from the US to the UK is usually 5%. Once it has been imported into the UK, you would be free under current EU rules to transport the work to say, Italy, without incurring any further import-related tax charges. If you then brought the artwork back to the UK under current rules there would also be no further tax charge. However, these rules may change from 31 December 2020.

Unfortunately the detailed structure of the UK import tax regime as from 1 January 2021 currently remains unclear. Hopefully the new UK legislation will be in substantially the same form, however, in order to be sure of the tax position, it is advisable to import the work of art to the UK from the US before the 31 December 2020 if that is where you intend to keep it for the long term.

What if the UK resident lends this work once in the UK to an Italian museum for an exhibition?

In terms of the loan to the museum in Italy, you may wish to proceed with the export to Italy before 31 December 2020 to avoid an import-related Italian tax charge but you should be aware that there may be an import charge when you bring the work of art back to the UK in 2021 if the rules change from 1 January 2021.

For more information we suggest reading this article.

There is also an Italian aspect to consider and we can advise on Italy’s own export regime as this differs from that of other EU countries.

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