Exhibition Tax Relief to be made permanent, chancellor confirms - Museums Association

Exhibition Tax Relief to be made permanent, chancellor confirms

Museum leaders welcome removal of sunset clause for ‘much-needed’ relief
Exhibitions Tax relief
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street to deliver his spring budget statement on 6 March 2024
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street to deliver his spring budget statement on 6 March 2024 Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

The Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief (MGETR) is to be made permanent, the UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced in his spring budget statement.

Introduced in 2017, the tax relief has supported hundreds of museums and galleries across the UK with £59m invested.

The relief has supported 6,430 exhibitions of all sizes, from blockbuster shows attracting national and international audiences to displays at smaller museums engaging local communities.

The tax relief had been due to expire on 31 March 2026 but the chancellor confirmed in today’s budget statement that it will be made permanent.

The measure enables museums and galleries to claim tax relief on the costs associated with setting up an exhibition, including production, installation and, where the exhibition lasted 12 months or less, deinstallation.

For the financial year 2024-25, the MGETR will provide a higher rate of 45% tax relief for touring productions and 40% relief for non-touring productions, with the maximum cash repayment per exhibition capped at £80,000 and £100,000 respectively.

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It is hoped that the removal of the sunset clause will enable smaller organisations to confidently explore claiming the relief.

Museum leaders across the UK have welcomed the news.

“We are delighted that this much-needed tax relief is now being made permanent," said Sharon Heal, director of the Museums Association.

“Museums and galleries of all sizes across the UK have benefitted from the additional support that it has given the sector. The tax relief has enabled museums and galleries to develop engaging exhibitions that have a huge social and economic benefit for their local communities and wider audiences.”

Maria Balshaw, chair of the National Museum Directors’ Council and director of Tate, said: “I want to thank the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt and culture secretary, Lucy Frazer for responding to the concerns of museums and the visual arts sector by extending this vital tax relief. It supports the making of exhibitions that directly benefit the public across the whole of the UK.

“At Tate it helps us create exhibitions that serve our local communities as well as attract visitors from all over the world. It underpins the economic and social benefit museums and galleries make to the UK economy and helps protect our world-leading creative sector.”

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Andrew Lovett, chair of the Association of Independent Museums and chief executive of the Black Country Living Museum, said: "Not only is this a positive and relevant response to concerted advocacy by the sector, the certainty a permanent relief provides makes it more accessible to independent museums, guaranteeing a long-term return on the resource investment required to claim it.

“Our visitors and communities will ultimately benefit from this astute investment in a sector, which makes significant contributions to the UK's economy and its sense of self.”

Art Fund director Jenny Waldman described the relief as a "critical support for the vitality and ambition that museums and galleries bring to the cultural life of the UK".

"We are delighted that it has been made permanent," she said. "Whether creating a new way of looking at a collection, a reappraisal of work by a neglected artist, an exhibition by a living artist, or a thematic exploration, every exhibition requires innovation, creates jobs, and importantly serves communities."

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