Museums and Galleries Exhibitions Tax Relief – status update May 2017

This blog was posted in May 2017 when the Museums Tax Relief bill had been delayed due to the snap election announcement in June. The bill has since passed into law (16 November 2017). Applications to the relief can be back-dated to April 2017.

Photo credit: Nick Youngson


Some of you might have heard about the new proposed tax relief for museums and galleries, which was consulted upon in Autumn last year and follows on from a range of other creative industries legislation – most recently the theatre tax relief introduced in 2014.  If you were aware of the imminent introduction of the Museums and Galleries tax relief, you may be wondering what the current state of play is. Here, we’ve tried to outline the message from UK Government about how it will come into action and unpick some of the current situation. Hope this provides some clarity!

If you were unaware that the tax relief had been proposed, we’ve also drafted a quick blog to explain its key points. Please read this to find out more, but do keep this update in mind!

When was the relief due to be implemented?

The tax relief was going to be included in the Finance (No.2) Bill 2016-17.  This would have enacted the process and the relief would have been applied from 1 April 2017.

Why isn’t the museums and galleries tax relief in place?

The Government has stated that there was not enough time for the Finance Bill to pass through the UK Parliament in the limited time before dissolution in advance of the UK General Election on 8 June. Basically, once the election had been announced, the political situation changed and many pieces of proposed legislation were put on hold.

When will it come into force?

The simple answer to this is we don’t know.  The Financial Secretary said there is no policy change on the Museums and Galleries tax relief and recommended that the provisions are legislated for at the earlier opportunity in the next Parliament.  However, it is for the next Government to recommend what to do on this relief.

Will it still apply from 1 April 2017?

This will depend on when the bill is enacted.  We won’t know more about future legislative programmes until after 8 June 2017.

Is there cross-party support for the tax relief?

(ie. If another party are voted into Government, will the Bill still be supported and put forward?)

We don’t have information from all the political parties on their views on the tax relief.  However, many of the previous creative industries tax reliefs were enacted under Labour governments.

What can I do now?

All we can do is wait until more is known after 8 June.  We will make sure we update you as soon as more is known.

We know that some museums have been planning to apply for the tax relief. It might be prudent to continue to collect any information that you think might be relevant. But please note, the relief is not in place so cannot be included in budgets. We would suggest that if you are seriously concerned or feel this will affect your existing budgets, that you seek relevant professional advice.

However, the bottom line is we all won’t know more about this until a new government has been formed and details are issued on a new budget bill.

We’ll keep you posted via our various communications on any updates when we receive them.

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