Museums and galleries tax relief set to boost local tourism in Scotland

Hazel Pratt, Head of Tourism and Hospitality, Henderson Loggie

The recent announcement that UK Government is to introduce a Finance Bill after the summer recess will be good news for tourism across Scotland, according to sector specialists at Scottish accountancy firm Henderson Loggie.  The Bill will include a new tax relief for charitable incorporated museums and galleries that develop new exhibitions, including those taken on tour. Companies under the control of local authorities will also be in the mix.

The new tax relief was originally due to be introduced in the 2017 Finance Act but legislation was delayed due to the general election. Relief at 20% for non-touring exhibitions and 25% for touring exhibitions will be capped at £500,000 of qualifying expenditure per exhibition.  The Financial Secretary to the Treasury confirmed last week that it will apply to expenditure incurred from 1 April 2017 and will run to 31 March 2022.

Hazel Pratt, head of tourism at Henderson Loggie, said:

“This is welcome news not just for the arts and cultural organisations which will benefit, but for the wider tourist and smaller local economies. The extra funding will encourage development of new cultural and artistic exhibitions for visitors to enjoy that may not have otherwise happened, or perhaps been developed at the same level. Additionally, it creates incentive to design exhibitions for touring which means that exhibits that may otherwise only be seen on a trip to the big cities could now happen in rural communities with knock on benefits to the local economy.”

Museums and galleries will be able to claim a credit worth up to £100,000 of qualifying expenditure on exhibitions that are toured, and £80,000 on non-touring exhibitions.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, causing a ripple effect which touches every industry and community, creating employment and economic growth. If the UK Government’s new Finance Bill leads to new exhibitions around the country, increasing our already excellent cultural offering for visitors from around the world, then that can only be good news for Scottish tourism.”

To date, Henderson Loggie’s specialist tax team have claimed back in excess of £1.3m of Creative Tax Reliefs for clients, which includes £360K of Theatre Tax Relief. They have also claimed back £11.2m in Research & Development Tax credits.