Income Tax and the achievement and maintenance of self-employment or ‘freelance’ status is a recurring theme of these pieces; as is the link between freelance working and claiming welfare benefits (although the names of those benefits have changed over the years, the issues are the same).

Other tricky financial issues are still relevant today, including part-time lecturing (and Income Tax status), and the taxation of prizes, grants, awards and bursaries.

VAT, especially when works are consigned to/sold by galleries or agents, is also addressed in several pieces over the years; and is also considered in the context of the introduction of the European Single Market in 1993.

The recurring theme throughout is that artists in particular are unwise to ignore their potential Income Tax and VAT liabilities, and should take positive steps at the outset of their careers to become sufficiently well informed about their tax position.

On a related note about art and money, there is a piece in 1989 describing the criminal prosecution of the artist JS Boggs for allegedly counterfeiting UK Treasury Notes as his artworks – and his successful acquittal by an Old Bailey jury.

This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material. The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.