New York sues Sotheby’s for helping important client escape sales taxes on artwork

Sotheby’s was sued on Friday by New York’s attorney general, who accused the auction house of defrauding the state by helping an important client avoid millions of dollars of sales taxes on art he purchased. Attorney General Letitia James said Sotheby’s helped the client, a collector of contemporary art, obtain false tax exemption certificates known as resale certificates by letting him portray himself as an art dealer rather than as a collector. James said this enabled the client, who runs a shipping business and lives mainly outside the country, to avoid sales taxes on more than $27 million (£21 million) of art he bought for personal use between 2010 and 2015, including for his Manhattan apartment.

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