Mexico allowing artists to sell their paintings to pay taxes: Resurrection of Art in Business

Mexico allowing artists to sell their paintings to pay taxes: Resurrection of Art in Business

By Tahirah Wiley

“Pago en Especie” which translates to “Payment in Kind”. The Payment in Kind program all started in 1957 by David Alfaro Siqueiros. Siqueiros made a proposal to keep a fellow artist out of jail for tax evasion by suggesting to “Let him pay his debt in art.”.

The number of pieces in its possession is the only statistic that the SAT records. In recent years, the government agency has been forced to purchase additional warehouses in Mexico City to store an ever-growing collection of paintings, graphics, and sculptures according to Atlantic. In an article from 4/11/14 "Murals were how Mexican history was first portrayed to the public. A country's culture and its understanding of itself evolve through its art. That is something we are in need of, especially now." José Ramón San Cristóbal Larrea, director of the government's Cultural Promotion and National Heritage Office told The Atlantic.

"Bus Stop" by Ekua Holmes

"Bus Stop" by Ekua Holmes

Mexico has lost billions to tax evasion. Yet, have gained countless pieces of artwork from sculptures to paintings. The proposal from Siqueiros soon led to lawfully allowing the artist to pay federal income taxes with their own artwork.

Mexican mural protesting gentrification in the center of Pilsen.

This brings on the question if Art is commonly ignored as beautiful possessions to invest in? Especially, in our urban communities here in the U.S.? There is a high percentage of artists in many of our communities. Many of which go unnoticed or end up unable to use their art as income. You will find many artists, however, who struggle with local customers to willingly pay the minimum worth for their artwork.

What are some ways to support our Artists better you may ask? After listening, watching, studying, and becoming an artist I found 5 major ways we can assist with supporting.

  1. Participate. One thing about an artist is that we love to share our gifts with others. See if there are any events in your area to incorporate into family or date night.

  2. Invest. Look at the art as an investment. Like any rare artifact, it comes with a price and possession brings about heirlooms.

  3. Local. Start buying the art from local artists as gifts to loved ones for the holidays. It’s a great way to build-up the creativity amongst your family and community.

  4. Attend. or create art exhibits/shows in your Community. Sidewalk art nights are popular in many areas.

  5. Promote. The best promotion is by word of mouth. If you know a local artist you love, share their work or tell someone about them when possible.

There’s always somebody that will appreciate it. Don't forget you can also use websites like & keep an eye on @urbanfreedommagazine on Instagram for current art and designers as well.

BONUS*: In the UK, you can pay your taxes with art. You even get full fair market value credit without selling it or paying tax on your gain.

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Mexican Street Art