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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Relevant business property: Woodlands syndicates

An interest in a woodland or forestry syndicate can be relevant business property (IHTM25141) within the definition of IHTA84/S105 as long as it can be shown that the wood or forest were commercially managed and the business was being carried on for gain. You should call for copy accounts and/or details of sales and work carried out. The Valuation Office Agency can also advise whether the woods were commercially managed. You will need to look at a longer period than two yearsin view of the length of time to grow the trees.

In order to qualify for business relief the participant of a woodland scheme must have an interest in the underlying asset(s), i.e. they must own an identifiable share of the relevant business property. As most woodland syndicates allocate to their participants an identifiable share of the underlying assets, the syndicate managers have been regarded as bare trustees of the members’ interests. Provided that the other requirements for business relief have been satisfied 100% relief will be available; it is immaterial that the investment by each investor is comparatively small and/or that the actual forestry business is operated by professional managers.

If there are serious doubts over whether, for example, the business has been carried on for gain, or the Syndicate Agreement suggests an arrangement whereby the conditions outlined above are not met, you should refer to Technical.

There are separate rules for woodlands relief (IHTM04371) under which the value of trees or underwood are left out of account of the estate on death where the conditions of IHTA84/S125 apply.