Vancouver Sun investigative reporter David Baines has just written a followup article entitled “Vancouver museum’s “Michelangelo” sculptures fail to sell at auction”. In this article he discusses how the valuations of the sculptures exaggerated their fair market value and how the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board validated the inflated figures. Interesting that “In an email Friday, the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board—which certified both transactions—said it has the legislative authority to reopen files and Canada Revenue Agency “has the legislative authority to reassess taxpayer returns.” Who should care if property is donated by people as part of a transaction, they receive over $30 million in tax receipts and about $13 million in tax savings and the property is actually only worth 100 - 200,000. The answer is that taxpayers should be concerned - normal Canadians, who don’t get involved in tax schemes are paying billions in extra taxes and receiving billions in less services as a result of these tax schemes. As well if you are concerned with the cultural and arts sector in Canada - it is distressing that all sorts of questionable objects are being provided to Canadian charities who are then spending large amounts of money storing them etc.
Here is the full article:
It will be interesting to see whether the CPERB reopens this case and whether CRA can and does reasses the taxpayers. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how many such reassessments CPERB has been involved with.
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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.