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Museums and galleries tax relief


The Museums Tax Relief allows museums and exhibitors to recoup expenses on exhibitions, based on their status.

Please ensure that if you’re applying for the relief that you contact a tax accountant to talk about your specific situation.

The Museums Tax Relief finally passed into law on 16 November 2017, having been originally delayed by the June 2017 snap election. In October 2021 the relief was extended to 31 March 2024 and doubled in value.

Who is it relevant to?

All museums with a public function who hold exhibitions.

When is it relevant?

For any museum when developing exhibitions – be they touring, temporary or permanent.

What does it cover?

The relief covers all costs involved in producing the exhibition, including curator fees, cost of deinstalling, and closing.

What does it not cover?

It doesn’t include indirect costs like marketing, raising of finance, legal services, advertising, and security.  Some more detailed areas of exclusion are –

  • Running costs from day of opening
  • Invigilation costs
  • Storage if not in 6 month touring period

How do I apply?

This can be applied for in your company tax return, some pointers are:

  • You need to claim through a company
  • You can apply if don’t pay corporation tax
  • You may want to use a trading subsidiary

Learn more

There are already some sources out there with more information.

HMRC guidance for the tax relief can be found on their website.

HMRC has also produced a useful paper on responses to the consultation. We found this paper helpful to understand the shape of the tax relief and why certain decisions had been made.

Arts Council England have produced a useful set of FAQs with links to the legislation

Tax experts Azets have provided a factsheet about the relief.

Arts and Business Scotland also have broader tax advice sheets from Scott Moncrieff on their website.

Azets museums and galleries tax relief helpline

MGS and Azets have partnered up to offer museums and galleries a free helpline for tax-related queries. Azets will offer a free 10 minute telephone consultation to anyone from a museum with questions around the Museums and Galleries Tax Relief or the Digital VAT Returns (Making Tax Digital).

Helpline contacts:

Azets – 0131 473 3500

Kirsty Murray – queries on Museums and Galleries Tax Relief

Scott Craig – queries around Making Tax Digital