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Artwork Received By Government Instead of Tax Payments

At KCT we were particularly interested to read recently that various heritage objects, including works of art, have been received by the government in lieu of heritage tax, according to an article on The Telegraph. More than £100 million worth of items were received over a five-year period.

Items constituting a cost of £124.5 million were handed over between 2009 and 2013 under arrangements allowing taxpayers to reduce the amount they are due to pay. Ed Vaizey, culture minister, noted recently that the Acceptance-in-Lieu (AIL) scheme from the government received £19.8 million worth of pieces in 2009, £15.7 million in 2010, £8.3 million in 2011, £31.3 million in 2012 and £49.4 million in 2013.

Specific items donated under this scheme include papers from Charles Darwin, a John Millais portrait and Raphael Ortiz's Duncan Terrace Piano Destruction Concert: The Landesmans' Homage to Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most. The government previously accepted a Rubens drawing of Venus, worth £4.4 million, a Barbara Hepworth sculpture and a note written by Ghandi.

The AIL scheme was introduced in 1910 by Lloyd George. The scheme allows the government to accept pieces of cultural value at full market price before being bequeathed to a public museum, library or archive, the article notes – with the Art's Council advising the government as to which establishment would be best suited for each artefact.

In 2013, the government introduced the Cultural Gifts Scheme (CGS), allowing UK taxpayers to donate suitable items to the nation (whilst they are still alive) to settle unpaid tax bills.

Inheritance tax currently stands at a threshold of £325,000 per person. What do you make of the AIL scheme?