Resale royalty – estates, beneficiaries, and the acquisition date

February 20, 2024

One of the criteria that determines if a resale is eligible for a royalty payment is when the owner of the work acquired it.  If an artwork existed as at 9 June 2010 (the start of the scheme), there is no royalty payable on the first resale of that work. This means that a person who acquired a work on or prior to 9 June 2010 is not required to pay a resale royalty when they resell that work. Conversely, if a person acquires a work after 9 June 2010, any subsequent resales are eligible for a resale royalty, subject to the other criteria being met.

Acquisition can be by purchase, gift or inheritance.  When considering inheritance, there are a few things to keep in mind when answering the acquisition question on the resale royalty report:

Estates and beneficiaries

After a person dies, there is no transfer of ownership until their estate is distributed to the beneficiaries.  The estate is regarded as being the same as the deceased person if that person were still alive.  So, when answering the acquisition question, it is answered as the deceased person would answer it if still alive.

If a person inherits an artwork, there is a transfer of ownership from the deceased person’s estate to the beneficiary, when the estate is distributed.  If the beneficiary resells the work, their resale report will indicate whether they were the owner of the work at the commencement of the scheme or became the owner later.

If the estate is of an artist who has died, and the estate sells a work created by the artist, the sale is regarded as if it were a sale by the artist and is thus not a commercial resale.  If however the estate includes a work that was acquired by the deceased artist (including by gift or inheritance), the estate’s sale of that work would be a commercial resale. The estate’s report of that resale needs to indicate whether the deceased person owned the work at the commencement of the scheme or acquired it later.


  1. A limited edition photograph was acquired by Buyer A in 2001. Buyer A died in December 2010 (after the scheme came into effect). The estate sells the photograph in 2011. This sale does not attract a resale royalty as the estate (the deceased person) acquired the photograph before the start of the scheme.
  2. A painting was acquired by Buyer B in 1950. Buyer B died in 2009 (before the scheme came into effect) and left the painting to his daughter in his will.  The estate was distributed in 2012 and the daughter subsequently sells the painting in 2013. This sale attracts a resale royalty as the daughter acquired the painting after the start of the scheme.
  3. A sculpture is created in July 2010, just after the start of the resale royalty scheme. The artist dies shortly thereafter. The estate sells the sculpture in March 2011.   This sale does not attract a resale royalty as it is the first sale of this work by the artist, i.e., is not a commercial resale.  The deceased artist had acquired an artwork by another artist in July 2010.  The estate sells this work in March 2011. This sale attracts a resale royalty as the deceased artist acquired the artwork after the start of the scheme.

If you require any further information or would like to ask about the eligibility of a work going to sale, please contact

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