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Vat (Museums, Galleries And Zoos)

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the proposed changes to the national scheme to refund national museums and galleries the VAT they incur on purchases when they allow free admissions to the public, originally noted in Budget 2001, HC279, paragraphs 5.97 and 5.98. [121065]

The Section 33A VAT refund scheme for those main national museums and galleries to which the Government are committed to ensure free access came into effect in September 2001. Paragraph 5.87 of the 2002 Economic and Fiscal Strategy report (HC 592) described the success of the scheme in achieving free access to all those main national museums and galleries. The scheme is continuing to operate successfully and there are no plans to change it.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what implications the recent judgment of the European Court of Justice in the case Customs v the Zoological Society of London (Case C-267/00) has for the way zoos, museums and similar bodies are required to account for VAT on their admission charges; and whether Customs has issued guidance on this issue. [121066]

HM Customs and Excise are assessing the impact of this judgment. In the meantime, Customs will continue to look into the circumstances of any individual bodies who feel they may be affected by this judgment on a case-by-case basis. Guidance on the exemption from VAT for these bodies is contained in Customs' Public Notice 701/47, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.