Heritage property—the conditional exemption
Heritage property—the conditional exemption

The following Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Heritage property—the conditional exemption
  • Conditions for exemption to apply
  • What property may qualify for the conditional exemption?
  • Undertakings
  • How to claim the exemption
  • Time limits and restrictions on the conditional exemption
  • Interaction with other taxes
  • Cessation of the conditional exemption and the charge to IHT
  • Loss, theft, damage or destruction of conditionally exempt heritage property
  • Other exemptions and reliefs for heritage property
  • more

Conditional exemption from inheritance tax (IHT) on a transfer of value of a qualifying asset is available at the discretion of the Treasury (assessed via the appropriate body, currently the Arts Council England). The aim, as with many of the heritage property reliefs, is to help ensure that pre-eminent heritage assets are retained in the UK and protected for the benefit of the nation as a whole rather than sold to private dealers. In order for a transfer to be conditionally exempt, certain conditions must be met and the owner (or other relevant person) must give undertakings that the item will be maintained and that reasonable public access will be arranged.

Conditions for exemption to apply

In order for the conditional exemption to apply, certain conditions must be met:

  1. the property transferred must qualify (and be designated by the appropriate body) as being pre-eminent for its national, scientific, historic or artistic interest or in the case of land and buildings for its scenic, architectural, historic or scientific interest (see further below), andInheritance Tax Act 1984, s 31(1)

  2. an appropriate person (generally the new owner) must give undertakings to:

    1. protect the property from damage and otherwise preserve it

    2. allow reasonable public access to the property, and

    3. for moveable property, ensure that it remains in the UK

In the case of lifetime gifts, there is a further condition that:IHTA 1984, s 30(3)

  1. the transferor or their spouse or civil partner (or the couple together) must have been beneficially entitled to the heritage property throughout the six years ending with the transfer, or

  2. the transferor must have acquired the property on

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