Document Type

Working Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Economics, Cultural and economic geography, Urban studies (Planning and development)

Publication Details

RICS Research Paper Series: Volume 7. Number 6


This research paper explores to use of fiscal incentives for heritage conservation in a range of countries in Western Europe (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom) and North America (Canada and USA), to see how they are used and how effective they are.

The main incentives are:

  • Income tax deductions and credits for costs incurred in heritage conservation activity;
  • Income tax credits for the provision of social housing in heritage buildings;
  • Property tax exemption, abatement or freeze for heritage buildings;
  • Value added (sales) tax concessions or rebates relating to heritage conservation activity;
  • Use of tax systems to provide an incentive to donations and corporate sponsorship activity through the establishment of heritage trusts and foundations;
  • Inheritance, gift and capital gains tax exemptions and concessions.

A key message to emerge from this research is that fiscal measures have a key role to play in heritage conservation, by providing incentives to owner-occupiers, investors and developers without requiring actual expenditure by government. The multiplier effects of expenditure on heritage conservation means that the income foregone by government in providing these incentives can be recouped through increased tax revenue, through the positive impact that heritage conservation has on neighbourhood revitalisation.


Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) & Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCS)