Chancellor George Osborne has made key concessions in the March budget which raises the limit for collectors’ donations in the UK to £40m.
This new higher threshold for museum art gifts will encourage collectors to donate important works of art as well as objects in return for tax breaks. The Cultural Gifts Scheme, allows UK taxpayers to donate works to the public in return for a tax reduction, an increase of £10m a year for the next five years, increasing its overall ceiling from £30m to £40m per year from April 2014.
This does not affect museums, but Maurice Davies, the Museums Association’s head of policy and communications, said: “People in theatre are already calling this tax relief a game changer. Wouldn’t it be clever to extend the scheme still further, to the production costs of museum and gallery exhibitions?”
The Cultural Gifts Scheme came into force in April 2013 to incentivise lifetime giving and donations of pre-eminent objects to public collections.
The budget will also see £1m go to commemoration events for the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015, and £20m for a grant scheme for repairs to cathedrals “in recognition of their heritage significance and role in forthcoming remembrance activities to commemorate the first world war”.
Osborne also announced tax relief for theatre productions, with 20% tax relief for qualifying productions, and 25% for regional touring. Film Tax Relief will be available at 25% on the first £20 million of qualifying production expenditure and 20% thereafter and the minimum UK expenditure requirement will be reduced from 25% to 10%. He has also put aside a £20m fund for the repair of cathedrals.