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Clause 49 - Gifts to the nation

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 14th June 2012.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 3:15 pm, 14th June 2012

I apologise for not having read your mind, Mr Amess, or indeed the procedure more skilfully. I shall be delighted to set out what clause 49 and  schedule 14 do, although I do not know whether you will allow me time to come back if there are questions at the end of the debate.

Clause 49 and schedule 14 set out how a tax reduction will be applied to an individual’s or a company’s tax liability when a pre-eminent object has been successfully donated for the benefit of the nation. This new scheme, the cultural gift scheme, is a step forward towards greater philanthropy and charitable giving by encouraging taxpayers to donate works of art or historical objects during their lifetime rather than following their deaths. This encourages lifetime giving of objects of national importance for the future enjoyment of everybody.

Let me briefly set out some background for hon. Members. At Budget 2011, the Government announced a series of substantial reforms to encourage philanthropy and charitable giving by donors at all life stages. One of these measures was to provide a tax incentive to encourage people to give pre-eminent objects to the nation which will be held, as I said, for the future enjoyment of everyone. The new cultural gift scheme therefore allows individual donors to set off a fixed percentage of the value of an object against some or all of their income tax or capital gains tax liability when they give the object to the nation under the scheme. Similarly, companies will be able to set up a fixed percentage of the value of an object against their corporation tax liability.

Let me explain how the scheme works. When an object is offered as a gift to the nation under the new scheme, a panel of experts assembled by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will consider whether the object is pre-eminent and, if so, whether the offer should be accepted. The panel will also agree the value of the object with the donor. If the donor decides to proceed with their donation, based on the agreed valuation, they will be entitled to a tax reduction at a fixed rate of the value of the object. For individuals, the rate will be 30% of the value of the object and for companies it will be 20%.