Here's how a little creative thinking and a lot of attention to detail creates a solution for art collectors who need to address their collection for estate planning but are not ready to part with their artwork. The icing on top is a terrific tax deduction.
Barron's recent article, "The Benefits of Owning Art Part-Time," explains that you can make this happen by gifting a "fractional interest" in your artwork to a museum or charity of your choice. So you'll be sharing ownership of your painting with a worthwhile nonprofit.
If you were to donate 50% of a painting worth $2 million to your local art museum for their fall and winter exhibits, the IRS would permit you to bring the work back to your home and enjoy it during the spring and summer and still claim a tax deduction of $1 million, or one-half of the artwork's market value.
You can't cut a painting in half, but sometimes clients want to gift the piece and still keep it for a while longer before they give it away altogether.
You should create and sign a detailed document outlining the gifting agreement. The document needs to carefully address several issues, such as the time frames each party will use the artwork, the party responsible for its maintenance when it's out of the original owner's control, the party responsible for insuring the art, and any specific uses for the art while under a party's control. You should also note any restrictions on the new co-owners loaning out the artwork to third parties when it's in their possession.
The IRS says the artwork must be gifted in entirety no later than 10 years after the agreement was signed. In our example, your remaining 50% has to be gifted to either the same museum or another charity within 10 years. If you fail to do so, your deduction on the initial gift becomes income. In Year One, you received a $1 million deduction; however, in Year 10, you can't go back and amend those taxes. As a result, it shows as $1 million in income. But once you make a gift of the remaining half, you receive a second tax deduction of $1 million.
If you don't live in a large metropolitan area, the art gallery at a local university or an arts-related charitable group may be open to this kind of sharing arrangement. Consider any of the places in your community where art is displayed well and where a highly trained curator is in charge of exhibits. This might be a public space associated with a hospital or a corporate center. It is rewarding to collect art, but it is also rewarding to know that you are sharing your art with an appreciative public.
Reference: Barron's (May 17, 2016) "The Benefits of Owning Art Part-Time"