There are several reliefs available for businesses depending on whether they are trading and investment businesses. This document discusses about the various reliefs available for relevant property business. This also covers the meaning of non-qualifying investment activities, exemptions available for qualifying holding companies, excepted assets and determining BPR status of certain corporate structure.


The basic qualification rules for business property relief (BPR) are illustrated in the Flowchart - trading or investment business for BPR purposes.

Relevant business property

The main categories of relevant business property are set out in IHTA 1984, s 105(1). In broad terms the legislation is aimed at businesses that are mainly trading, but the scope of the relief is framed negatively. Thus, all businesses qualify unless they are wholly or mainly:

  • dealing  in shares or securities
  • dealing  in land or buildings
  • making  or holding investments

A business engaged in genuine property development should qualify (this is not an investment activi-ty).Executors of Piercy (deceased) v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2008] STC (SCD) 858 (sub-scription sensitive)

See the BPR guidance note.

Non-qualifying investment activities

The 'mainly' requirement means that the above prohibited land or investment activities will prevent BPR being available where they account for more than half of the total business operations. In determining whether a business qualifies for BPR, it is necessary to look at the nature of the business activities 'in the round'.

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