Purchase of artwork by companies in France

Tax deductions for French companies purchasing works by living artists

In France, companies that purchase original works by living artists for public display may, under certain conditions, deduct the purchase price from their taxable income.


Whatever the activity of the company, the deduction concerns :

+ companies subject to corporate income tax (CIT), either by right or by option
+ individual companies subject to income tax in the BIC category.

In order to benefit from the deduction, the company must exhibit the work of art in a place accessible free of charge to the public or to the employees, with the exception of their offices, for 5 years (i.e. the period corresponding to the fiscal year of acquisition and the 4 following years).


The works concerned are :

+ paintings, drawings, watercolors, gouaches, pastels, monotypes, entirely executed by the artist;
+ engravings, prints and lithographs, printed in limited numbers directly from plates entirely executed by hand by the artist, whatever the technique or material used, with the exception of any mechanical or photomechanical process;
+ productions in all materials of statuary art or sculpture and assemblies, as long as these productions and assemblies are executed entirely by hand by the artist, excluding articles of jewelry, goldsmithery and jewelry;
+ castings of sculpture limited to 8 copies and controlled by the artist or his beneficiaries;
+ handmade tapestries, based on original cartoons provided by the artist, limited to 8 copies;
+ unique ceramic pieces, entirely executed by the artist's hand and signed by him;
+ enamels on copper, entirely executed by hand, limited to 8 numbered copies and signed by the artist, excluding articles of jewelry, goldsmiths and jewelers;
+ photographs taken by the artist, printed by him or under his control, signed and numbered up to 30 copies, all formats and media combined.
Please note: handmade or mass-produced works do not constitute original works.

The artist must be alive at the time of purchase of the work. The company must be able to prove the existence of the artist at the date of acquisition.

The exhibition of the work can be carried out :

+ in the company's premises, provided that they are actually accessible to the public or to the employees (it cannot be a personal office, a personal residence or a place reserved for the company's clients only, for example);
+ during events organized by the company or by a museum, a local authority or a public institution to which the property has been entrusted
+ in a museum to which the property is deposited;
+ by a region, a department, a municipality or one of their public establishments or a public establishment of a scientific, cultural or professional nature.

The exhibition must be permanent (for the 5 years required), and not carried out on the occasion of one-off events (temporary exhibition, seasonal festival, etc.).


Whatever the conditions of exposure to the public adopted by the company, the public must be informed of the place of exposure and of its possibility of access to the good. The company must therefore communicate the appropriate information to the public, by attractive indications on the place of the exhibition and by all promotional means adapted to the importance of the work.

The purchase price of the work of art (or instrument) can be deducted extra-accountably from the taxable income of the year of purchase and the 4 following years, in equal fractions, i.e. 1/5th (20%) each year.

The basis for the deduction is the cost price of the work or instrument, corresponding to its original value (its purchase price, increased by any incidental expenses and reduced by recoverable VAT).

The costs incurred at the time of the acquisition, which are not included in its cost price (in particular the commissions paid to the intermediaries), are excluded from the basis of the deduction; they are immediately deductible.

The sums are deductible up to a limit of €10,000 or 5 ‰ (per thousand) of the turnover excluding tax when the latter amount is higher, reduced by the total of the payments made as patronage.

If the fraction of the acquisition price cannot be fully deducted in respect of a year, the unused excess cannot be carried forward for deduction in a subsequent year.

Any deduction not taken by the company in a given year is permanently lost.

The company must record an amount equal to the deduction in a special reserve account on the liabilities side of the balance sheet.

This amount must be added back to the taxable income in case of :

+ change of use (the work is no longer exhibited to the public or the instrument is no longer loaned) ;
sale of the work or instrument (the asset is no longer part of the fixed assets);
+ withdrawal from the reserve account (the withdrawal of all or part of the sums allocated to the special reserve account results in the reintegration of the sums withdrawn into taxable profits at the ordinary rate).
The company may set up a provision for depreciation, when the depreciation of the work exceeds the amount of the deductions already made.

The tax reduction scheme for corporate sponsorship, provided for in Article 238 bis of the General Tax Code (CGI), was modified by the 2019 Finance Act. A new ceiling on payments has been introduced. Thus, payments made by companies are entitled to the tax reduction within the limit of €10,000 or 5 ‰ of turnover when the latter amount is higher. This new ceiling also concerns expenditures made under the special deduction scheme for companies that purchase original works by living artists, provided for in Article 238 bis AB of the CGI. This measure applies to payments made during fiscal years ending on or after December 31, 2021.

In addition, companies that make more than €10,000 in donations and payments during a fiscal year that qualify for the tax reduction must now declare to the tax authorities the amount and date of these donations and payments, the identity of the beneficiaries and, where applicable, the value of goods and services received, directly or indirectly, in return.


Also for information, the Finance Bill for 2020 provides for a doubling of the ceiling for the sponsorship tax reduction. The deputies have adopted an amendment to raise the ceiling for the calculation of the sponsorship tax reduction from 10,000 euros to 20,000 euros (amendment n°II-CF330).


The Oniris Gallery can assist and advise you on the acquisition of original works by living artists.

2 December 2020
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