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Proposals set out in a report published by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) last week include doubling the allowance threshold from £6000 to £12,000 on capital gains from the sale of art and antiques before Capital Gains Tax or Corporation Tax would apply.

The OTS report, commissioned as an independent study by the Treasury - arguably to help Chancellor George Osborne raise billions in new revenues - largely focuses on areas where tax relief should be cut.

There is no clear reason why art and antiques have been singled out for favourable treatment, although such an extension of tax relief would be seen as a reward for investment which encourages trade, thereby supporting employment, whereas many of the proposed cuts apply to areas of subsidy.

If accepted, it would be the first time the allowance threshold has been raised for art and antiques for 22 years.

By Ivan Macquisten