Art law Sweden

Swedes call for art to be tax deductible

New leader of opposition party hopes to trigger debate about cultural funding

STOCKHOLM. The Swedish Artists’ National Organisation (KRO) has called for tax incentives for private individuals who invest in art. The new leader of Sweden's opposition Social Democratic party, Håkan Juholt, had previously campaigned for the provision when he was an ordinary member of the Swedish parliament. “Our hope is that Juholt, as head of the party, will work on that issue and that we will get a debate about it,” said Karen Willén, head of the artists' organisation.

Juholt originally put forward his proposal in 2009, after the liberal-conservative government introduced a scheme that allows private households to deduct expenses for services such as house cleaning from their taxes. “A similar subsidy for art would support not only artists but also all of us, who would have the opportunity of enjoying the art,” Juholt stated to parliament in September 2009. His suggestion was that half of the labour costs (but not the material costs) for a work of art could be deducted by the purchaser.

“I don't think this idea will be realised, [but] it is at least good if it triggers a debate about how culture should be financed,” said Professor Emma Stenström from Stockholm School of Economics and the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in the Swedish capital.

KRO has previously successfully campaigned for new regulations that require Swedish state-run museums to pay artists participating in exhibitions.

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