Latest “Acceptance in Lieu” donation is a reminder that art can be a useful way to fund inheritance tax.

Latest “Acceptance in Lieu” donation is a reminder that art can be a useful way to fund inheritance tax.

The Arts Council (AC) are expected to announce later this year that a miniature marble statue of the ancient Greek god Apollo has been accepted for the nation in lieu of a £10.5m inheritance tax (IHT) bill.

The statue, known as the Apollo Belvedere, was sculpted over 500 years ago by the artist Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi and will be displayed at Cambridge’s world-renowned Fitzwilliam Museum.

The statue has been donated under the Acceptance In Lieu (AiL) scheme which “allows those who have a bill to Inheritance Tax… to pay the tax by transferring important cultural, scientific or historic objects and archives to the nation”.

Under the scheme, an offer of property is made to HMRC who will check that there is a liability for IHT and that the offer is being made by the personal liable for the tax (usually the estate of the deceased previous owner). Qualifying property includes objects of national interest, historic collections and land or buildings which are of significance to the national heritage. The offer can be conditional on the property going to a certain institution or unconditional.

The AiL scheme was conceived in 1910 on the back of the different but complementary conditional exemption tax incentive (Ceti). Ceti allows owners not to pay IHT on certain items passing on death as long as the new owners look after them, keep them in the UK and make them available for public view. Ceti was introduced in response to the government’s introduction of death duties in the late 19th century, which had prompted hundreds of land owners to give away pieces of art in order to avoid duties, resulting in collections being broken up or taken out of their historically important context.

Significant objects that have passed to the nation under the AiL scheme include a late Barbara Hepworth sculpture from 1973 called Meditation, a drawing of Venus rising by Rubens, a JMW Turner landscape painted on his first visit to Rome in 1920 and a handwritten note by Gandhi.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2023/dec/12/renaissance-bronze-apollo-donated-to-british-nation-to-pay-inheritance-tax-bill

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