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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Exemptions: diplomatic and consular immunity

Under the provisions of the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964 exemption from IHT is granted on the death of a member of a diplomatic mission to the UK who is not a national of, or permanently resident in, the UK and on the death of a member of their family forming part of their household. The exemption is limited to moveable property which is in this country solely by reason of the deceased’s presence here as a member of the mission or as one of the family of a member of the mission.

A serving diplomat who has been resident in the UK for 17 years out of the last 20 is not treated as domiciled (IHTM13000) here by virtue of IHTA84/S267 (1)(b). But a former diplomat who stays here after retirement is subject to IHTA84/S267 (1)(b) in the normal way, and their previous residence here during their years of service is not ignored.

As regards lifetime transfers (IHTM14000) IHT can be charged only in respect of gifts by a foreign diplomat of UK immovables and of investments in UK commercial undertakings.

The exemption applies subject to the power conferred by s.3 of the Act to withdraw privileges and immunities by Order in Council in cases where those granted by the sending State are less than those granted by the Act.

Exemption on similar lines may also be granted under the provisions of

  • the Consular Relations Act 1968
  • the International Organisations Act 1968
  • the European Communities Act 1972

You should refer a claim for exemption under any of these Acts to Technical.