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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Lifetime transfers: dating of dispositions: dispositions affecting land

England and Wales

If a disposition is made by way of a contract of sale and the ‘purchase exemption’ under IHTA84/S10 (IHTM04161) does not apply, the date of the transfer would normally be the date of the formal contract rather than the date of completion.

An outright gift of an interest in land is completed on the execution of the formal transfer, conveyance or assignment of the property or of a declaration of trust evidenced by writing (Law of Property Act 1925 S53 (1)(b)). Any preliminary agreement to make the gift which lacks the necessary formality would be ineffective.


The date of transfer of heritable property in Scotland for Inheritance Tax purposes is to be taken as the date when the disposition is delivered by the donor to the donee (following the Marquess of Linlithgow and another v HM Revenue and Customs [2010] STC 1563). The Court rejected HMRC’s contention that the date of transfer was the date the disposition is recorded in the Register of Sasines or Land Register, which had been based on the advice of HMRC Counsel.

Delivery is used in the ordinary sense and means when the donee receives the signed deed from the donor either by taking possession of it by hand or by post or it being delivered to an agent on the donee’s behalf.

If there is any doubt over whether there had been delivery or when delivery occurred refer to Technical.