Artist told to pay GST

on his own paintings

The experience of a painter dealing with NZ Customs is a salutary lesson about engaging with bureaucracy – and getting your paperwork right. As Nikki Mandow reports, this story comes with a twist in the tail…

In 2021, Jimmy James Kouratoras, a New Zealand-based artist with Māori and Greek heritage, was invited to send some works for a show at a gallery in Aspen, Colorado in the US. A local media report talked about “an exquisite exhibit at the McHugh Gallery of the New Zealand artist and his Hei Tiki Putiputi series”.

Late last year, after the exhibition, the gallery shipped four unsold works back to New Zealand. But that’s when Kouratoras got a surprise. NZ Customs wanted his company JK Productions Ltd to pay $2000 in Goods and Services Tax to reclaim his own paintings. Until he paid up, shipping agent FedEx wasn’t releasing his pictures.

Kouratoras argued his case with FedEx: GST is a tax for people buying and selling stuff, but Kouratoras wasn’t doing either – just bringing his own work home. So FedEx argued his case with Customs, but Customs wasn’t convinced. 

“The goods were exported as ‘Sold – good for final purchase/sale’,” a Customs agent told the FedEx broker. “JK Productions Ltd is a company and GST tax credits would have been claimed on the IRD GST return using the export entry documents.” 

Link to article: Kiwi Artist Told To Pay GST On His Own Paintings | Newsroom


This product has been added to your cart