Deadline approaching for museum and gallery tax relief schemes - Museums Association

Deadline approaching for museum and gallery tax relief schemes

Applications due in March for VAT refunds and exhibition tax relief

The deadline is fast approaching for two UK-wide tax relief schemes designed to benefit museums and galleries.

VAT Refund Scheme for Museums and Galleries

Applications to join the VAT Refund Scheme for Museums and Galleries are due by 5pm on Wednesday 1 March.

The scheme, which has been running since 2001, supports venues to provide free entry. Institutions taking part in the scheme are entitled to a refund on VAT incurred on goods and services that are purchased in order to provide free admission.

This round is the first time the scheme has been open to new applications since 2018.

A total of 159 sites across the UK currently benefit from the scheme. Between 2001 and 2022, the total amount of VAT refunds issued to museums and galleries is estimated to have been as much as £1bn.


The full criteria for a museum and gallery applying are:

  • being open to the general public for at least 30 hours per week;
  • offering free entry without prior appointment;
  • holding collections in a purpose-built building;
  • displaying details of free entry and opening hours on the museum website.
Museums & Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief

Many museums are due to submit claims to the Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief scheme before the end of the financial year on 31 March. There is a two-year deadline to submit a claim.

The scheme is designed to support organisations to create and tour public-facing exhibitions by helping them to recover some of their production costs.


Arts Council England is hosting two free webinars to help museums find out what they need to put together a claim, from eligibility and what they can claim for through to how much can be claimed.

The webinars will be led by tax experts RSM and take place on 24 February and 1 March.

A series of case studies has also been published to help guide organisations through the application process.

Leave a comment

You must be to post a comment.