The Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme enables taxpayers to transfer important works of art and other heritage objects into public ownership while paying Inheritance Tax, or one of its earlier forms. The taxpayer is given the full open market value of the item, which is then allocated to a public museum, archive or library.

The guidance notes (available to download on the right) outline the purpose and process of the scheme, identifying the benefits to potential offerors and receivers (museums, galleries, libraries and archives).

The more detailed guidance notes on making offers in lieu ('Presentation of Offers' available to download on the right) also includes information of particular relevance to those offering archival material.

Items accepted in lieu and available for allocation

Once an object has been accepted in lieu, it is allocated by the appropriate minister to a suitable museum or gallery. Arts Council England's AIL Panel provides the minister with advice on the allocation of all objects, other than manuscripts, which have been accepted in lieu. (In the case of manuscripts, allocation recommendations are made by the Historical Manuscripts Commissioner at The National Archives). Where an offer has been made with a condition that it be allocated to a particular institution and the minister has agreed to the allocation, the object is immediately transferred to that institution as soon as the offer is completed.

Where an offer is made with a wish as to allocation, or with neither a wish nor a condition, the item is advertised on the items for allocation area of this website and applications for allocation are invited.

Conditional Exemption

Arts Council England also advises HM Revenue & Customs on works of art, manuscripts, heritage objects and historical documents, which are preserved and made available to the public in return for conditional exemption from Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax. A list of Conditionally Exempt items can be found at

Cultural Gifts Scheme and Acceptance in Lieu Report 2015 published

The Cultural Gifts Scheme and Acceptance in Lieu Report is now available. The Report sets out 29 cases - including a wide range of works of art worth almost £40 million - were accepted for the nation.