Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, host of Tribal Artery and web sites at ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink and TribalWorks, regularly surveys the news-sphere to bring readers news of interest concerning the art world.
The Santa Fe New Mexican has reported on an IRS tax raid on a Santa Fe art gallery as part of an alleged tax investigation.
According to the New Mexican, numerous federal agents entered the Torres Gallery on Water Street and confiscated scores of works by gourd artist, Robert Rivera.
Buried in the story was an interesting report that federal agents took issue with whether or not some of the items confiscated were owned by the gallery, the result of gallery owners having paid for them, or were present in the gallery on consignment from the artist. In the latter case, they qualify as property of the artist, who appears to be the target of the action. In the former case, however, they would be the property of the gallery and not be subject to seizure in settlement of a tax judgment.
The gallery manager, Frank Quintanar, is reported as having said he had trouble convincing the federal agents that some items were paid for and, therefore belong to someone other than the artist.
The lessons to be learned from this?
If you are a gallery owner or dealer, retain all receipts or other proof of purchase in a place where it can be easily accessed. Visits from the authoritiea are seldom announced in advance.
If you are a collector, remove your purchase from the gallery or store premises immediately upon completing your purchase. You do not want to be caught in the middle between the government and an artist who may or may not be delinquent on tax payments.