Could your property be exempt from inheritance tax?

November 27th 2019

Your property may qualify for the conditional exemption from inheritance tax (IHT) if it is considered to be heritage property. This could be very useful for your family as it means that such property, which is not restricted to just land, can pass down the generations with no IHT being payable at the time. There are also other circumstances in which IHT can be deferred which are mentioned below.

What is heritage property?

According to government guidance heritage property is property that falls in to one of the following classes:

  1. buildings, estates or parklands of outstanding historical or architectural interest;
  2. land of outstanding natural beauty and spectacular views;
  3. land of outstanding scientific interest including special areas for the conservation of wildlife, plants and trees; or
  4. objects with national scientific, historic or artistic interest, either in their own right or due to a connection with historical buildings.

What are the requirements of the conditional exemption?

If your property falls in to one of the heritage property classes described above you can make a claim to HMRC for the exemption and give undertakings to HMRC which may include:

  • allowing public access to the property:
  • preserving the property; and
  • retaining the property in the UK.

What are the time limits for a claim?

If you want to make a claim to HMRC for the conditional exemption you should make sure you do so within the time limits. This is either within such a time limit that HMRC allows or 2 years of:

  • the gift of the property for chargeable lifetime transfers;
  • the donor’s death for potentially exempt transfers; or
  • the transferor’s death for transfers of value on death.

If the property meets all of the above requirements and HMRC agrees that it qualifies for the conditional exemption they will defer the IHT charge payable.


  • This exemption only defers the IHT payable and does not remove it.
  • Any material breach of any undertakings given to HMRC will result in IHT on the current value of the property being payable.
  • If the property is sold rather than passed down to the owner’s issue IHT will become payable on the current value of the property.IHT will remain deferred if the sale is to a recognised body and for national purposes.

Spratt Endicott Solicitors

For more information, you can get in touch with Victoria Upton on 01295 204000 or send an email to

*Disclaimer: While everything has been done to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this article, it is a general guide only. It is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought in relation to the particular facts of a given situation.