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Museums and galleries missing out on claiming cash credits

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Published: 01 Apr 2022 Update History

A research paper by HMRC indicates poor uptake of vital tax relief for museum and galleries.

HMRC has noted that the take-up for the Museum and Galleries Tax Relief (MGTR) has not been as widespread as anticipated. The tax relief allows qualifying companies and charities to claim a cash credit on the costs of developing new exhibitions, up to a maximum of between 36% and 40%.

The available credit has been temporarily increased to give the sector a boost as it reopens following the pandemic.

For this research paper HMRC collaborated with 35 eligible organisations to explore the experiences of any claims made, barriers to uptake, and why some are not claiming. It was clear that a lack of awareness and understanding of the relief was the biggest barrier to claiming. This is often more prevalent among smaller charities who don’t have specialist tax advisers to help them navigate the process. Many non-claimants had incorrectly assumed that the relief was not relevant to them as the inclusion of the word “tax” in the name led them to believe that they needed to be tax paying.

MGTR is the only creative tax relief regime that includes a sunset clause that allowed HMRC to review its continued application from 1 April 2022. At the Autumn Budget, it was announced that the sunset clause would be extended to 1 April 2024.

However, the research report highlights that as many exhibitions take several years to plan and some organisations would need to make administrative and structural changes to benefit from the relief, removal of the sunset clause would provide assurance that the costs associated with making claims will provide ongoing benefit.

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