Artist accused of tax cover-up

Vanity Fair is set to publish details that Bacon, who died in 1992 aged 82, is alleged to have avoided paying tax in Britain by failing to declare payments made by his dealers Marlborough Fine Art to a Swiss bank account.

The payments, made through the gallery’s worldwide representative Marlborough International Fine Art, based in Liechtenstein, were legal but Bacon’s failure to inform the Inland Revenue was not, according to the article to be published in this month’s edition of the US magazine.

Bacon’s tax affairs have come to light because of a legal wrangle between his estate and the gallery. His estate is alleging that the gallery exercised ‘undue influence’ over the artist in a 30-year association.

The estate identified 30 works of arts for which it claimed Bacon received no payment. The gallery claims all the paintings have been accounted for because Bacon either sold them privately or gave them away.

Vanity Fair alleges that just before his death, Bacon put £4.2m from the sale of his paintings into a Swiss bank account, but asked for £1.6m of it back when he realised that he would have to pay tax on his earnings.

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