Tax authorities in Philadelphia, in a clumsy and shortsighted move, have decided that dealers exhibiting at the Philadelphia Antiques Show, one of the most prestigious shows in America, are tax scofflaws who haven’t been paying enough tax to the city (see Lita Solis-Cohen’s report on page 12-A). The city is going after six years of back taxes plus interest from dealers who have exhibited in Philadelphia.
The city maintains that dealers were obligated to pay sales tax, a business income and receipts tax, a net profits tax, and commercial activity fees. Tax authorities waived any penalties but have the temerity to charge 12% per year on the unpaid taxes, an exorbitant rate.
Never mind all the good that the show, a benefit for Penn Medicine, has done for the city. Never mind that dealers were not made aware of the taxes due, either from show management or city officials. Never mind that the antiques market has been in the doldrums and is only now recovering. Never mind that the Philadelphia Antiques Show has struggled financially recently.
The shows in Philadelphia—Frank Gaglio’s Antiques at the 23rd Street Armory runs concurrently with the Philadelphia Antiques Show—are an asset to the city, and this issue will make it harder to attract dealers. Municipalities should make it easier for dealers to exhibit in their cities, not harder.
The situation in Philadelphia is a stark reminder that dealers and show promoters need to thoroughly check city tax codes and ask plenty of questions of local authorities when they set up at a show.
Originally published in the April 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest