Criticism for tax exemption that allows public access to private artworks

Gabriel Rossetti, A Christmas Carol,1867, pboto: Sotheby's

An art and heritage tax exemption scheme which allows the British public access to privately owned artworks has been described as in urgent need of reform, the Guardian has reported.

UK owners of 115,000 artworks, that include paintings by Titian and the Pre-Raphaelites, don't pay inheritance or capital gains tax if they allow public access, but the Guardian's survey reveals that viewing often proves difficult, despite owners being required to make an item available for no more than 28 days a year. Inaccuracies have also been found in the listings of works, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti's, A Christmas Carol,1828-1882, listed as on loan to Manchester's Lady Lever Gallery, despite having been sold at auction by Sotheby's, at the end of last year.

The current database of works can be found on the HMRC website.