Making an exhibition of tax breaks

18 August 2022

New statistics published today show that HMRC paid out over £9m in tax credits to museums and galleries for creating new exhibitions for the year to 31 March 2022. That comprises 145 claims and 1,060 exhibitions. The total paid out since the introduction of the relief in 2017 is now £43m.

The number of claims, exhibitions and the amount paid out has fallen, with 52% of claims being for £25,000 or less. Only 14% of claims were greater than £100,000 and account for 56% of the total amount paid.

This relief is the most recent in a range of creative sector reliefs and is designed to encourage more investment in developing new exhibitions for display to the general public. The tax relief allows charities and local authorities to claim a cash credit.

Museums and Galleries Exhibitions tax relief has been instrumental in helping the sector through a difficult period of closures due to Covid. The substantial increase in the rate now means that the relief is worth between 36 and 40% of qualifying spend. Now, more than ever, organisations should be reviewing this relief to ensure they claim the generous benefits.

Will Simpson, creative sector specialist at RSM UK said: ‘It is disappointing that the number of claimants and level of relief paid out has decreased but this is not wholly unexpected as these statistics cover a period when many venues were closed. It is important for the sector to continue to receive support, for example in the shape of tax reliefs. Especially given that many museums and galleries continue to be impacted by the pandemic and issues around the cost-of-living crisis.

‘In a time of great uncertainty in the charitable sector, the government should take more action to encourage greater take up of these reliefs and expand the scope to allow the whole sector to benefit.’