This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide to the Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme.

What is the Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme? What taxes does it apply to? What are the conditions?

At a glance

Under the terms of the Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme, certain buildings, land, works of art and other objects are given special capital tax status to preserve and protect national heritage for the benefit of the public.

Assets that qualify under the scheme are exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT) and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) as long as certain conditions are met.

Coronavirus measures

It may not be possible for owners of heritage assets in the Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme to meet all their undertakings due to Coronavirus. HMRC issued guidance in May 2020 to confirm that:

HMRC's guidance was further updated in June 2021 to confirm that: 


In 2018 HMRC updated their memorandum on Capital taxation and the National Heritage for the first time since 1987. Written from an IHT perspective it describes the available capital tax exemptions and reliefs and procedures available for Conditionally Exempt (CE) or otherwise referred to Heritage assets.

Various changes have been made since 1987, the most significant were those enacted under FA 1998 to extend public access rights and to publish the terms of undertakings. Other changes include the following:

Qualifying heritage property

Qualifying national heritage property “Designation” is available under S.31(1) for six categories of property:

Public access

Broadly speaking, public access to CE objects should be available without a prior appointment on at least a certain number of days each year. Outside this “open access” period viewing can be restricted to occasions where a prior appointment has been made. In some cases viewing may be at a public museum or gallery.

Editorial Comment

It seems that few people try and see some of the objects. On a practical level it is very difficult to gain access to some of the assets. Access in most cases is handled by private client law firms and the links given to open days can be uninformative. Be prepared to be ruthlessly persistent if you wish to see an object or a collection.

Links to HMRC

HMRC Heritage assets 

Search by object type then county location:

Search by region and collection

Help with heritage assets: or help and advice on heritage relief, or if you have difficulty getting access to tax-exempt heritage assets, contact the HMRC Inheritance Tax - Heritage Team.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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