Aby Rosen to Pay $7 Million to Settle Art Tax Dodge Investigation

Apparently, tax laws apply to him, too.

Aby Rosen.
Photo: courtesy BFA.

New York art collector and real estate magnate Aby Rosen has agreed to a $7 million settlement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman following an investigation into the use of resale certificates on over 200 works of art.

Over the last 14 years, Rosen bought or commissioned $80 million in artworks, furniture, jewelry and other items, but did not pay appropriate sales taxes, according to a statement by Schneiderman in a press release issued by Schneiderman‘s office.

“We are committed to rooting out tax abuses wherever we find them, especially in the art world, where the difference can be hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars in lost tax revenue per sale,” said Schneiderman. “When art collectors don’t pay their fair share, law abiding New Yorkers should not be stuck footing the bill.”

Rosen is known for having a collection of works by canonical artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol. He has said that he invests 10 percent of his money in art.

Instead of selling the works he acquired, however, he displayed them “for personal enjoyment and the enhancement of his real estate business brand,” at his home and at his hotels and restaurants, which are under the title of 22nd Century Acquisitions and Lever House Artwork, Schneiderman said in the release.

Roxanne Donovan, a spokesperson for Rosen, disagrees. “Mr. Rosen maintains that the public display of artwork acquired by 22nd Century Acquisitions was incidental to its resale, expressly intended to promote the resale of those works,” she writes in an email to artnet News.

The high-profile collector is currently at work on a 63-story luxury tower, designed by Foster + Partners, now under construction at 100 East 53rd Street, where apartments will go for anywhere from $3.3 million to $55 million. He has also previously served as the chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts.

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