Don't miss deadline for inclusion on VAT refund scheme

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 21.06.2016
Many more institutions now eligible to apply
The deadline for museums and galleries across the UK to apply for inclusion in the 33A VAT refund scheme falls on Friday 24 June.

The tax relief scheme, which was previously available only to national and university museums and galleries, allows institutions to reclaim VAT incurred "on most goods and services purchased in order to grant free rights of admission", which would otherwise be non-recoverable.

It was extended in the spring budget to any charitable institution that meets certain access criteria. Applicants must: offer free entry without prior appointment; be open to the public for at least 30 hours a week without exception; hold collections in a purpose-built building; and display details of free entry and opening hours on their website.

Newly eligible museums and galleries are required to complete a strategic business case as part of the application process, including: proof of Accredited status; past and/or projected visitor figures; and information on existing and planned education programmes and community engagement work.

Once admitted to the scheme, museums must provide evidence confirming an obligation to providing or continuing to provide free entry, and submit visitor figures on a bi-annual basis.

Applications must be sent in the first instance to the appropriate administration or department in each devolved nation: the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, England; the Welsh Assembly; the Scottish Government; or the Northern Ireland Assembly. Applications by military museums should be sent to the Ministry of Defence.

Museums that miss this week’s deadline will have until June 2017 to submit their applications in the next round.

Links and downloads

HMRC notice on VAT refund scheme

More information on museums and tax