Since 1957, Mexico has lost billions to tax evasion, but it collected thousands of valuable paintings and sculptures. Why? Because Mexican artists can pay their taxes by donating pieces of artwork that they create to the government!
It all started in 1957 when muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros in an effort to keep a fellow artist out of jail, he proposed to the Secretariat of Finance a rather bizarre suggestion: Let him pay his debt in art. Well, as strange as it may sound, the government adopted his suggestion and since then, more than 7,000 donations have been made!
Here’s the picture of the first donation ever made in 1957. It was the painting “Lucila y los Judas” from David Alfaro Siqueiros’ friend, Diego Rivera: (the article continues after the ad)
The donations program is quite simple: artists donate their artwork according to their reported sales. If an artist sells between one and five pieces of art in a taxable year, then he or she can donate one piece to the federal government. If the artist sells between six and eight pieces, they donate two and so on until they reach the annual cap of six donations.
For now only painters, sculptors and graphic artists can participate and not everybody can qualify. To ensure that no one tries to unload junk, a 10-member jury committee or artists, thoroughly examines all the artworks before giving the green light to the government for acquisition.
Way to go Mexico!