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HMRC internal manual

VAT Cultural Services

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HM Revenue & Customs
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VAT on cultural services: the law

Group 13, Schedule 9 of the VAT Act 1994 reads:

Item No.

  1. The supply by a public body of a right of admission to -

(a) a museum, gallery, art exhibition or zoo; or

(b) a theatrical, musical or choreographic performance of a cultural nature.

  1. The supply by an eligible body of a right of admission to -

(a) a museum, gallery, art exhibition or zoo; or

(b) a theatrical, musical or choreographic performance of a cultural nature.

Notes:

(1) For the purposes of this Group “public body” means -

(a) a local authority;

(b) a government department within the meaning of section 41(6); or

(c) a non-departmental public body which is listed in the 1995 edition of the publication prepared by the Office of Public Service and known as “Public Bodies”.

(2) For the purposes of item 2 “eligible body” means any body (other than a public body) which -

(a) is precluded from distributing, and does not distribute, any profit it makes;

(b) applies any profits made from supplies of a description falling within item 2 to the continuance or improvement of the facilities made available by means of the supplies; and

(c) is managed and administered on a voluntary basis by persons who have no direct or indirect financial interest in its activities.

(3) Item 1 does not include any supply the exemption of which would be likely to create distortions of competition such as to place a commercial enterprise carried on by a taxable person at a disadvantage.

(4) Item 1(b) includes the supply of a right of admission to a performance only if the performance is provided exclusively by one or more public bodies, one or more eligible bodies or any combination of public bodies and eligible bodies.