“Art appreciation goes beyond the aesthetic. If you truly appreciate art, you may spend significant amounts of money to support that passion. Purchasing art can include expenses for transportation, storage, display and insurance, as well as fees for appraisals, conservation and restoration,” BNY Mellon Wealth Management (2016).
A lot of artist and sculptors export their pieces of work and sell them internationally were the market is more profitable. Since most of these are small business owners, they are not usually taxed as they are not registered unlike other well established organisations, however, it is not the same with established Museums and Galleries.
The art industry has been in the informal sector for a while and a lot of people who are in this industry are usually small business owners.
Zimbabwe has the second largest informal sector in the world, after Bolivia and it has great potential of generating enough revenue to contribute towards the country’s economy through the arts and crafts sector. Taxation of the informal sector has been a difficulty since the participants do not keep records of their business operations a lot of them are not registered and others do not have fixed business premises. Therefore most of them are not usually taxed.
Zimbabwe’s art and craft sector is filled with different materials that portray the nation’s cultural and heritage practice. Sculptures, paintings, bearded jewellery, pottery, basketry, textile, and woodcarving, which are displayed in Gallery shops at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, in airports show all the effort and talent executed by each individual in creating each masterpiece.
The sector has for long been providing people with employment opportunities especially those who do not have the required level of education to be fully employed in the public sector, but can execute their talent either in sculpting, bearding or weaving.
ZimTrade (2016) states “the strong creative flair and unique aesthetic developed by Zimbabwean people and implemented in both practical and religious objects has created a demand for Zimbabwean art throughout the world.”
Since the art sector does not get taxed and whatever the artists obtains from selling his artworks goes straight to his pocket, the moment the art industry is formalised this means artists will now be taxed and some of the output received will be set towards the nation’s revenue. There are a number of laws to be followed when exporting goods out of Zimbabwe and Doing Business in Zimbabwe.
The jewel of Africa (2013) highlights some of the regulations that are fundamentally aimed at ensuring that the country’s export earnings are fully accounted for and that Zimbabwe realises the true and fair value of its exports.
Goods with a value greater than US$5 000 cannot be exported unless payment for the goods has been made or will be made within 90 days from date of export. Jacqui McIntosh (2017) states that the carrying of works of art especially works being exported to other countries can be complicated and is usually a costly business involving a range of aspects such as art handling, packaging, customs’ paperwork, shipping and insurance.
Museums and larger galleries often employ the services of a variety of companies or have specific departments in their organisation with expert knowledge that then apply extra measures in handling and protecting the artworks.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe at times exports artworks for exhibitions that will be taking place overseas for example at the Venice Biennale. These can last throughout the entirety of the exhibition that will be running then are later imported back to their country.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) has certain laws instilled on temporary exported materials. These do not pay duty on their return due to their nature and purpose of export.
Most of these items that do not require payment of duty are radios, binoculars, laptops and cameras, however these should be registered at a Customs House or port of exit before exportation and run through inspection from an official.
Above all it is important to note that being charged Valued Added Tax (VAT) and duties on package depends on whether the work is being temporarily exported or permanently exported. In Zimbabwe, ZIMRA has a Zero-rate VAT on exports of goods from Zimbabwe to an address in an export country.