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VAT refund scheme for museums

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Information on how local museums can apply to join the VAT refund scheme.

The VAT refund scheme allows eligible museums to claim back VAT incurred on most goods and services purchased in order to grant free rights of admission to their collections. Local museums are able to apply to the VAT refund scheme, which is managed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Museums must meet the following access criteria to be eligible to apply:

  • be open to the general public for at least 30 hours per week
  • offer free entry, without prior appointment
  • hold collections in a purpose-built building
  • display details of free entry and opening hours on the museum website.
Newly eligible museums will also be required to complete a strategic business case as part of the application process, including:
  • proof of Accredited status 
  • past and/or projected visitor figures
  • information on existing and planned education programmes and community engagement work.
Detailed information and guidance about the scheme is available on the HMRC website (external link). 

The next closing date for applications is likely to be in Spring 2018. Eligible museums should complete the application form and return it to MALD.

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