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  • Overview

    When is a painting not a painting? When it’s a plant. Confused? Jeremy Passmore explains why your painting of a plant may be taxable – but your plant of a painting may not be.

    In a recent case, the executors of a deceased member of the Howard dynasty argued that their painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds, entitled Omai, should not be taxed because it was a wasting asset.

    The technical basis for the argument is that wasting assets are not subject to a charge to Capital Gains Tax on their disposal. In general a wasting asset is one with a predictable life of no more than 50 years, and clearly Sir Joshua's effort would fail to satisfy that test, having already survived centuries.

     

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