Art Appraisal Services

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Art Appraisal Services (AAS) is a team of professionally trained Appraisers who provide advice and assistance to the IRS and taxpayers on valuation questions arising in connection with personal property and works of art. AAS Appraisers review the fair market value (FMV) claimed for personal property included in federal income and estate and gift tax cases, in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code.

A Director oversees the staff of Appraisers. Each Appraiser has specific training in appraisal methodology, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), and education and experience in fine art, decorative arts, and collectibles, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, antiques, ceramics, textiles, carpets, silver, rare manuscripts, antiquities, ethnographic art, coins, and sports, entertainment, and historical memorabilia.

Although organized under the IRS Independent Office of Appeals, AAS typically assists IRS’ examination function, lawyers from the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and the Department of Justice, as well as Appeals Officers, on the valuation of personal property and works of art. In particular, AAS helps other offices review appraisals for Non-Cash Charitable Contributions including IRS Form 8283 and appraisals for Estate and Gift Taxes. AAS also responds to taxpayer Requests for Statements of Value for certain significant charitable contributions, gifts, or estate transfers of personal property or art.

For inquiries specific to an art appraisal matter, contact Art Appraisal Services at General tax inquiries or questions about refunds will not be answered from this mailbox. Please consult the IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant for information on general taxpayer questions and Where’s My Refund? to check the status of your refund.

Referral to the Commissioner's Art Advisory Panel

In certain matters, AAS is advised by the Commissioner’s Art Advisory Panel (the Panel). The Panel members, up to 25 renowned art experts, serve without compensation and provide advisory opinions. Established in 1968, the Panel is governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and chaired by the Director of AAS.

AAS Appraisers, the Director of AAS, and Panel members meet regularly to discuss the valuation of art works submitted for review by AAS. Generally, these art works have individual values above $150,000, but AAS has discretion in determining what items are sent to the Panel for review. After reviewing photographs and relevant documentation provided by taxpayers and research by the AAS Appraisers, the Panel members make recommendations on the acceptability of the claimed FMVs without knowing the taxpayer or whether the value is for estate and gift tax or charitable contribution.

In making value recommendations, Panel members draw upon their combined professional expertise in dealing with art to assess the aesthetic quality, historical importance, and FMV of the subject property. The Panel provides oral advisory opinions on the values of the individual properties and reaches a consensus; it does not issue written reports. Final determinations of value are made by AAS.

The Annual Summary Report describes the closed meeting activity of the Panel for the most recent year. The report discusses the procedures of the Panel, provides a list of panelists and summarizes the art items reviewed during the year. 

Appraisals for Non-Cash Charitable Contributions

Generally, if the claimed deduction for an item or group of similar items of donated property is more than $5,000, a qualified appraisal signed and dated by a qualified appraiser is required. Taxpayers must also complete Form 8283, Section B, and attach it to the tax return. A qualified appraisal is an appraisal document that:

  • Is made, signed, and dated by a qualified appraiser (defined below) in accordance with generally accepted appraisal standards;
  • Meets the relevant requirements of Regulations section 1.170A-17(a);
  • Is issued no earlier than 60 days before the date of the contribution and no later than the date the tax return is due, including extensions. For an appraisal report issued on or after the date of the contribution, the valuation effective date must be the date of the contribution. For an appraisal report issued prior to and no earlier than 60 days before the date of contribution, the valuation effective date is the prospective date of contribution, and;
  • Does not involve a prohibited appraisal fee.

The qualified appraisal must be received before the due date, including extensions, of the return on which a charitable contribution deduction is first claimed for the donated property. If the deduction is first claimed on an amended return, the qualified appraisal must be received before the date on which the amended return is filed. See Publication 561PDF for guidance on attaching the appraisal to the return depending upon the amount of the deduction claimed.

Qualified Appraisal

A qualified appraisal must include the following information:

  • A description of the property in sufficient detail for a person who is not generally familiar with the type of property to determine that the property appraised is the property that was (or will be) contributed;
  • The physical condition of any tangible property;
  • The date (or expected date) of contribution;
  • The terms of any agreement or understanding entered into (or expected to be entered into) by or on behalf of the donor and donee that relates to the use, sale, or other disposition of the donated property, including, for example, the terms of any agreement or understanding that:
    • Temporarily or permanently restricts a donee's right to use or dispose of the donated property;
    • Earmarks donated property for a particular use; or
    • Reserves to, or confers upon, anyone (other than a donee organization or an organization participating with a donee organization in cooperative fundraising) any right to the income from the donated property or to the possession of the property, including the right to vote donated securities, to acquire the property by purchase or otherwise, or to designate the person having the income, possession, or right to acquire the property;
  • The name, address, and taxpayer identification number of the qualified appraiser and, if the appraiser is a partner, an employee, or an independent contractor engaged by a person other than the donor, the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of the partnership or the person who employs or engages the appraiser;
  • The qualifications of the qualified appraiser who signs the appraisal, including the appraiser's background, experience, education, and any membership in professional appraisal associations;
  • A statement that the appraisal was prepared for income tax purposes;
  • The date (or dates) on which the property was valued;
  • The appraised FMV on the date (or expected date) of contribution;
  • The method of valuation used to determine FMV, such as the sales comparison approach, the cost approach, or the income approach; and
  • The specific basis for the valuation, such as any specific comparable sales transaction.

An appraisal of fine art, decorative art and collectibles prepared for the Service and reviewed by AAS should include all of the following:

  1. A complete description of the object, indicating the size, subject matter, medium, name of the artist (or culture), and approximate date created. (See Preferred Item FormatPDF)
  2. The cost, date, and manner of acquisition.
  3. A history of the item, including proof of authenticity.
  4. A professional quality image of the object. (See Publication 5497PDF)
  5. The facts on which the appraisal was based, such as:
    • Sales of similar works by the artist, particularly on or around the valuation date at public and private sales.
    • A record of any exhibitions at which the specific art object had been displayed.
    • The economic state of the art market at the time of valuation, particularly with respect to the specific property.
    • The standing of the artist in their profession and in the particular school or time period.

Qualified Appraiser

A qualified appraiser is an individual with verifiable education and experience in valuing the type of property for which the appraisal is performed.

  1. The individual:
    • Has earned an appraisal designation from a generally recognized professional appraiser organization, or,
    • Has met certain minimum education requirements and 2 or more years of experience. To meet the minimum education requirement, individuals must have successfully completed professional or college-level coursework obtained from:
      • A professional or college-level educational organization,
      • A professional trade or appraiser organization that regularly offers educational programs in valuing the type of property, or,
      • An employer as part of an employee apprenticeship or education program similar to professional or college-level courses.
  2. The individual regularly prepares appraisals for which they are paid.
  3. The individual is not an excluded individual. (See Publication 561PDF for list of excluded individuals.)

IRS Form 8283

Generally, if the claimed deduction for an item of donated property is more than $5,000, taxpayers must attach Form 8283 to the tax return and complete Section B. A separate Form 8283 is required for each item of contributed property that is not part of a group of similar items. Contributions of similar items of property to the same donee organization require only one Form 8283. Contributions of similar items of property to more than one donee organization requires a separate form for each donee.

Appraisals for Estate and Gift Taxes

For more information regarding the valuation of household and personal effects for Estate Tax purposes, see 26 CFR § 20.2031-1 and 20.2031-6.

For more information regarding the valuation of property for Gift Tax purposes, see 26 CFR § 25.2512-1.

Statement of Value Requests

Revenue Procedure 96-15PDF provides procedures for taxpayers to request a review of art valuations for income, estate, and gift returns. Taxpayers may obtain a Statement of Value (SOV) from the Service for an advance review of art valuation claims prior to filing the return. The SOV may then be used to complete the taxpayer's return.

The procedure generally applies to an item of art that has been appraised at $50,000 or more. The appraisal submitted of the subject items must meet specific substantiation requirements. A user fee is charged for each request. The current fees for a SOV are $7,500 for one to three items and $400 for each additional item (see Revenue Procedure 2023-1, Appendix A – Schedule of User Fees).

User fees for SOV requests made pursuant to Revenue Procedure 96-15 must be made by direct debit from a checking or savings account through Payment confirmations are provided through the portal and should be submitted with the SOV request. Art Appraisal Services will not consider a SOV request complete, and will hold the request in suspense, until the correct user fee is paid through AAS may decline any SOV request in the interest of efficient tax administration.

Send requests for a Statement of Value to:

Internal Revenue Service
Art Appraisal Services
C:AP  Room 3615
1111 Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20224

Note: All photography and color images sent via US Postal Service will be irradiated (and ruined). Please send packages via private delivery service, such as UPS or FedEx.

AAS Preferred Format for Item Descriptions (applicable to all types of tax appraisals)

Review the AAS Preferred Item FormatPDF for works of art valued at $50,000 and above. Note: This format is recommended for the object identification section in the appraisal report. It is not intended to stand alone as an appraisal report.

The appraisal of each work should also provide the basis or reasoning as to how the appraiser arrived at the individual appraised value. Individual comparable sales should be included. These sales should be analyzed in terms of quality, relevance, and how they relate to the subject property. The item discussion should include commentary regarding any special conditions or circumstances about the property, a discussion of the quality or importance of the property in relation to other works of art by the same artist, and the state-of-the-art market at the time of valuation. Whenever possible, statements should be supported with factual evidence

It is understood that complete information will not be readily available in every case. However, the validity of the appraiser’s valuation is enhanced and the IRS’s appraisal review facilitated by complete and accurate information.

AAS Photographic Requirements (applicable to all types of tax appraisals)

AAS determines the FMV largely based on professional quality color photographs and/or high-resolution digital images. Publication 5497PDF addresses the photographic requirements for art, antiques, decorative arts, collectibles, and other cultural properties and provides clear guidance on acceptable and non-acceptable formats. Appraisals submitted without photographs or that don’t meet the guidelines provided in Publication 5497 cannot be processed timely.