asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, bearing in mind the conclusion of his written answer to the hon. Member for Warley, East, Official Report, 16 January, column 735, concerning the waiving by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue of interest payments in respect of the value of works of art and museum objects accepted in satisfaction of capital transfer tax from the date of the receipt of an offer until its acceptance, he will instruct the commissioners that they are to accept that the merits of a particular case are prima facia established retrospectively by the acceptance of an object, and that refusal to waive interest charges in respect of such acceptances should only occur if the time consumed between offer and acceptance is judged to be due in substance to other causes than the transacting of the necessary departmental procedures.
As I said in my reply to my hon. Friend on 16 January, the Government are still considering the recommendation of the Environment Sub-Committee of the Expenditure Committee, in its report on the National Land Fund, in connection with interest charges relating to property accepted in payment of capital transfer tax. I have nothing to add to that at present.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has recently received representations from the Law Society critical of the purport and effect of Inland Revenue form 700A, being the undertaking required from applicants for exemption from capital transfer tax on works of art and museum objects, in so far as it relates, in particular, to the fourth alternative condition concerning reasonable public access and whether he will give such representations due consideration in any revision of form 700A following the review referred to in his written answer to the hon. Member for Warley, East, Official Report, 16 January, column 734.
The answer to both parts of my hon. Friend's question is "Yes."
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Commissioners of Inland Revenue have accepted that the inclusion of works of art and museum objects in a register available to the public in the national art library in the Victoria and Albert museum, thus enabling the public to arrange to view such objects by appointment, is one of the means by which owners of objects exempted from capital transfer tax may conform with the condition of reasonable access to the public in section 77(2)(b) of the Finance Act 1976; and whether the existence of this potential option will be made clear by an appropriate revision of Inland Revenue form 700A, being the undertaking required from applicants for conditional exception.
I have nothing to add to the answer given to a related question from my hon. Friend on 16 January.—[Vol. 960, c. 734.]