Artistic licence on tax

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THE INLAND Revenue is trying to drum up more interest in its register of conditionally exempt works of art - the system under which private owners can avoid inheritance tax by giving viewing access to the public.

More than 9,000 paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and other objects are included on the list. In the last three months new additions include Route de Versailles by Alfred Sisley, Head of a Bishop by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and a Thomas Tompion bracket clock.

But the Revenue believes that the scheme has been under-used. Instead of keeping the register in a series of old binders, the Revenue is computerising the list and updating it every three months. The register can be consulted at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff and the Ulster Museum in Belfast. Disc copies of the register can be bought for pounds 10 from the Capital Taxes Office of the Inland Revenue.

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