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April 30, 2021

In Mexico, artists can pay their taxes with paintings

Now that deadline day is here, Canadian distaste for taxes has finally reached its peak.

Chances are, you’ve laboured over which deductions you qualified for and which claims could be made over the past few months.  

But after all that, you could still have a hefty tax bill when it’s all said and done. This is just a way of the world – that is, unless you live in Mexico.

USA Today has revealed a little-known Mexican tax policy that allows artists to pay their income penalties with artwork.

The proviso, which has actually been in place since 1957, works with quite a high level of sophistication.

Started by Mexican journalists sticking up for their artist friend (who was risking jail time when he wasn’t able to pay his taxes a few decades ago) the stipulation operates on a sliding scale.883166_artist_palette

If an artist sells five artworks in a year, he or she can give the government one as compensation for their income taxes. Sell 21 pieces, the government gets six … and so on.

Now, this isn’t totally a scam-the-Mexican-tax-man affair. There’s a 10-member appointed jury of artists that ensures “no one tries to unload junk,” according to USA Today. And you have to be a professional artist to qualify for the exemption.

Yet, say what you want about Mexico’s tax plan. Since its inception, the nation’s been “quietly amassing a modern art collection that would make most museum curators swoon,” says the paper.

The country’s Ministry of Finance and Public Credit now owns 4,248 paintings, sculptures, photos and engravings by renowned Mexican legends Diego Rivera, Rufina Tamayo and other artists.

One Rivera, for example, is now worth millions of dollars, says the director of the tax program.

Sound weird? It is, but in honour of Canadians not having to worry about taxes for another year, here are 11 other weird tax laws – a duty on having a beard? – from around the globe.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...