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The VAT refund Scheme for museums and galleries

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The VAT People - Expert Author

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22nd August 2014

Museums and art galleries are a great resource during school holidays (and other times of course) especially ones that allow free access. The problem for such bodies though is that free access equals non business use and non-business use equals restricted ability to recover VAT on costs.

There is a VAT refund scheme that allows certain museums and galleries to recover VAT on costs associated with collections where they allow the public free viewing access. All the museums and galleries are named on a list which has now been extended to include the V&A Museum of Design and the Dundee and Embrace Arts Centre, which is the University of Leicesterís art centre. In addition the National Coal Mining Museum for England, which was previously included as part of the Science Museum, is now listed as a separate institution.

Whilst it is great that additional galleries and museums are entering the scheme, there are still many smaller or less politically powerful museums and galleries and other free access tourist and community interest organisations that have little or no ability to recover VAT. What are their options given that lobby for inclusion on the list will be a long and hard fought process?

The option for any organisations and especially charities who allow free access to current properties or intend to construct, purchase, lease, renovate or extend such properties, is to contact The VAT People for an initial discussion. We can often identify ways to either legitimately put the organisation in the position to recover some or all of the VAT on costs relating to the property, or mitigate the VAT bill. We have a number of happy clients who are proof that this is the case.

If you or your client have or intend to incur costs relating to a building that will allow free access to part or all of the building by members of the public such as a gallery, art centre, museum, heritage centre, civic centre, village hall,


About the Author

The Information Commissionerís Office is the UKís independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. We do this by promoting good practice, ruling on complaints, providing information to individuals and organisations and taking appropriate action when the law is broken.

The ICO enforces and oversees the following legislation:

  •  Data Protection Act 1998
  •  Freedom of Information Act 2000
  •  Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003
  •  Environmental Information Regulations 2004



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-10-03 09:00:19 in Tax Articles

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