Museums Need To Act To Ensure The Exhibition Tax Relief Benefits Everyone

The government is proposing a major new way of investing in museums and galleries, through an exhibition tax relief. But the current proposals will exclude hundreds of museums across the UK by limiting the tax relief to temporary and touring exhibitions. We are urging AIM members to respond to the government’s consultation to ensure that the tax relief is fair and that every member of the public, whether their local museum has temporary exhibitions or not, has the potential to benefit.

The government’s recent support for museums is extremely welcome: a number of individual museums have benefited from grants from libor fines and most recently, in 2016 Budget, it was announced that the 20% tax relief already available to the film industry, orchestras, theatres and others, would be extended to museums and galleries for exhibitions.

This is very positive, but there is a sting in the tail. The proposal is that the tax relief will only apply to touring and temporary exhibitions (defined as open to the public for less than a year), meaning hundreds of museums across the country won’t benefit because they have no space for temporary exhibitions. Additionally, this does not recognise that the core product of museums is high quality interpretation with a typical life-span longer than a year – as it is these the majority of the public visit, this is where the government’s investment needs to be made to be most effective.


Photo: ©The Lightbox, Woking

Ever since the idea of this tax relief was first mooted last year, AIM has been working behind the scenes to help HM Treasury to understand why applying the relief only to short-duration exhibitions will be unfair and limit the government’s ability to achieve its aims through the tax relief. However, the proposals which are now out for consultation still only include temporary and touring exhibitions.

Your help is needed to ensure that this tax relief can benefit all museums and galleries, and achieve the government’s objective of ensuring everyone in the country has access to high quality, creative, museum experiences. Tax credits for other industries were substantially modified as a result of the consultation responses, so it is really important that the government hears from as many museums and galleries as possible about how the tax relief will help them deliver better experiences to the public but the importance of not putting an artificial time-frame on the duration of exhibitions. More help with points you might want to include will be available on the AIM website soon.

The consultation document is published here:

The deadline for responses is 28 October 2016.

In the meantime, AIM is collecting evidence for our response on behalf of independent museums and galleries, so please contact Tamalie Newbery via email:

With any thoughts, comments or examples. Please also send us copies of any responses you make to the consultation or letters you write to your MP.


5 thoughts on “Museums Need To Act To Ensure The Exhibition Tax Relief Benefits Everyone

    • The new tax relief will start in April 2017 so there aren’t any museums or galleries using it at the moment. Theatres, orchestras and others have been using similar tax reliefs for a while so it’s interesting to see how it has worked for them.

  1. Pingback: Update On Exhibition Tax Relief – Still Time To Call For All Museums To Benefit | AIM Blog for independent museums and heritage sites

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s