Artists own work

I have been instructed to prepare Wills for a married couple, the husband being a prominent British artist. He has a substantial collection of his own work, which I understand may qualify for IHT relief in the same (or similar) way as BPR/APR. Could members please confirm whether this is in fact the case and, if so, point me in the right direction for a suitable precedent?

I have no direct experience of dealing with artists so take my comments with a little pinch of salt but in principle I see no reason why BPR could not be available.

A key issue will be, of course, whether as a matter of fact the artist is actually conducting a business in the exercise of a profession/vocation; compare the “badges” of trade. Are all his paintings shown as stock in his accounts; are all his paintings available for sale; has he made profits over time (or mainly losses).

No doubt others will offer a more satisfactory response.

Malcolm Finney

Agree with Malcolm points,

Is it a Company or self-employed? Id suggest BPR and especially APR are a case by case basis, HMRC may chose to challange either. And often do.

Broadly, the paintings are “stock”? So therefore quailify? - is this the argument.

If so, HMRC will look at cash in a business and stock to ensure the owner has not tried to bypass IHT. Stock levels ought to have some relation to the T/O of the business.

Richard Bishop

Let’s assume the profession/vocation is continuing.

The paintings would be stock in trade valued at the lower of cost and net realisable value. Cost would be almost negligible. In my view the unsold paintings would qualify for IHT BPR.

However if the artist retires the unsold paintings are no longer a business asset as the ‘business’ has ceased. In my view BPR would not be available. The paintings would be included in an IHT account at market value.

The phrase " … a substantial collection of his own work …" might suggest that these paintings are no longer business assets (i.e. stock in trade) and would therefore not qualify for BPR.

Hi Richard
Self employed not a company. It’s definitely stock in trade whilst he remains active, which he currently is, very


Dan Attfield MSWW MSEPP


The Will & Trust Company Ltd (incorporating Phoenix Wills Services Ltd)

01268 551122

Sail Loft A, Woodrolfe Road, Tollesbury CM9 8SE


Further to the government’s latest directive to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) our offices are occasionally operating on a part-time basis. We continue to work, sometimes remotely, and will progress matters as best we can in these difficult times. We are contactable by email and/or phone and will answer your query as promptly as we can. HOWEVER, RESPONSE TIMES MAY BE AFFECTED

We are happy to give advice by video call (Zoom / WhatsApp or similar) when we can assess your case and progress your matter. Any documents prepared would normally be emailed in draft form in the first instance.

Due to delays within the postal system we ask that wherever possible you please scan documents to us as well as placing in the post. Post should always be sent ‘signed for’.

The situation is changing on a regular basis and we must adapt in line with government advice.

This email and attachments have been scanned for the presence of computer viruses. This firm will not accept responsibility for any virus or defect. This e-mail is private and confidential. Access by or disclosure to anyone other than the intended recipient for any reason other than the business purpose, for which the message is intended, is unauthorised.

Internet communications are not secure and this firm does not accept legal responsibility for the contents of this message. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this firm unless otherwise specifically stated.

If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete all copies from your system.

Taking Malcolm and Gerry’s points I’d suggest BPR is available.

We use Parkers Will Precedents - full range of BPR trusts for incorporation into a will.

Richard Bishop