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TonyTax, Tax Consultant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 15979
Experience:  Inc Tax, CGT, Corp Tax, IHT, VAT.
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my partner is a book illustrator and he gets paid for this.

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my partner is a book illustrator and he gets paid for this. He has many of his own original illustrations stored in the attic which he would like to sell because they are getting in the way. What would be the tax situation be on any money received from these sales?

Is your partner self-employed? In what form are the illustrations he wants to sell? How would he sell them?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He is self employed. The illustrations are pen and ink and watercolour originals from existing published children's books, which he owns the right to dispose of as he see fit. He would probably put them on Ebay individually or in small sets including the cover illustration and two inside pictures maybe. He would sign each one and send them by post to buyers.


Leave this with me while I draft my answer.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I forgot to add that the quantity of pictures could amount to a few thousand illustrations. We haven't counted them, although he may not want to sell all of them. Thanks

Hi again.

There are two possible ways the profits from the items your partner wants to sell could be taxed.


The way I would advise your partner to disclose the sales is as part of his income as an illustrator. In my opinion, they are part of his stock and, as you say, he is free to do with them as he sees fit. Take a look at BIM33035, BIM33040 and BIM33045 for more information on HMRC's views on what constitutes stock.


If your partner was a buyer of one of the originals and it had increased in value and was later sold, I would regard it as a chattel. The taxing of profits from the disposal of chattels is dealt with in HMRC helpsheet HS293 here. The disposal of individual items for £6,000 or less do not need to be reported to the tax office. However, if some of the illustrations could be said to form a "set", then the disposal proceeds for the individual parts of that set are treated as one disposal even if they are sold to unconnected buyers and there may be a liability to Capital Gains Tax.

I doubt that the tax office would accept that the illustrations were your partner's chattels, given his profession and the fact that they have each been used to earn him an income as an illustrator. Even if that were not his profession and he drew as a hobby, if he subsequently made a habit of selling his work, he would be treated as running a business and his profits would almost certainly be charged to income tax and national insurance contributions accordingly.

I hope this helps but let me know if you have any further questions.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No need for more help at present thankyou

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