Update: As several readers have pointed out, this story is from January, 2017. As yet, there is still no information on a response from the IRS on Senator Hatch’s concerns.
Michael Schnayerson’s Town & Country story on private art museums focuses on Mitchell and Emily Rales’s Glenstone but the story covers a lot of other ground. Most notably, Schnayerson points out that Senator Orrin Hatch has begun to look at the 43 private art museums in the United States:
Private museums get whopping tax breaks, which gives a taxpayer the right to ask: Is this a fair exchange? The U.S. Senate Finance Committee, under chairman Orrin Hatch, wondered the same thing. Last summer it concluded an investigation of 11 private museums, including Glenstone. The senator’s staffers seem more perplexed than when they started. […]
As for Hatch, he has passed along his findings to the IRS commissioner, clearly less than reassured. “Tax-exempt private museums have a duty to provide a benefit for not just their benefactors and the well connected but the public as a whole,” he tells Town & Country. Without naming which ones, he adds that some of the 11 museums he investigated “appear to have the ability to exploit gray areas of the tax code to overly benefit their founders.”
Inside the Private Museums of Billionaire Art Collectors (Town & Country)