The Art of Taxation

In Mexico, visual artists can pay their taxes with art works.

That's the deal Mexico has offered to artists since 1957, quietly amassing a modern art collection that would make most museum curators swoon. As the 2009 tax deadline approaches, tax collectors are getting ready to receive a whole new crop of masterworks…

There's a sliding scale: If you sell five artworks in a year, you must give the government one. Sell 21 pieces, the government gets six. A 10-member jury of artists ensures that no one tries to unload junk.

Under the program, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit now owns 4,248 paintings, sculptures, engravings and photographs by Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Leonora Carrington and other masters.

Click on "Colecciones Pago en Especie" at to see the art works which have been used to pay taxes since the program began.

The Mexican government accepts all styles of painting for the program so, unlike in America, in Mexico you can have taxation without representation.


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