Tax plan that’s a work of art

July 19, 2011

Tax benefits related to donations of art and other objects of value are to rise significantly under a plan outlined in the last Budget, say chartered accountants Saffrey Champness. 

Richard Cartwright, a partner in Saffery Champness’ Bristol office, explained: “Under the current Acceptance in Lieu scheme, donors are encouraged to give irrevocable gifts of art to the public, the market value of which is deducted from inheritance tax on death. The scheme has been an undeniable success, and the volume of artefacts coming to populate our public galleries and museums through this system is nothing short of astonishing.

“The drawback of course is that donors cannot themselves benefit from this as tax is not offset until death. Although the Acceptance in Lieu scheme is likely to continue, the new proposals will allow people to enjoy the tax benefits of giving on death while still alive.

“The Government proposes taking a percentage of the value of the proposed gift, say 25% while offsetting this against an individual or corporation’s tax bill for the year in which the donation is made. This signals an important move away from our current system toward one implemented in countries including France, Ireland and Australia, where it has been hugely successful.

“If this ends up encouraging people to leave great works of art to the public – whilst reaping additional tax benefits in the process – we can only benefit from the improvement in preserving our culture and heritage here in Britain.”



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