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Untitled 2004 (aluminium foil guitarist)
Tom Friedman

South London Gallery
Until 1st August 2004
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Goodison Review in Favour of Tax Relief on Objects [added 21/1/04]

Sir Nicholas Goodison’s Treasury-sponsored review of "the effectiveness and efficiency of support to regional and national museums and galleries to help them acquire works of art and culture ......", published 15th January, calls for tax relief on objects donated to museums. Donors would be able to set the gross value of the object against their income tax and spread the tax saving over a number of years. It is also recommended that the V& A Purchase grant fund, a crucial source of funding for regional museums be restored in real terms to the level of £1.5 million enjoyed n 1994/5 (it has been on standstill at £1m since 1995/6) and that the grant to the Heritage Memorial Fund is restored to £20m.

The Review also calls for statutory local government support for regional collections and places considerable emphasis on the need for funds to ensure high standards of collections management and curatorial expertise. Despite evident enthusiasm from the Chancellor last April when the Review was announced it had no impact on December’s pre-budget statement – begging the question as to Gordon Brown’s commitment.

VAGA has endorsed the following key points:

  • The observation that high standards of collections management is to be insisted upon
  • The recommendation that the administration of various programmes be streamlined within the ambit of Resource and that it appoints panels of experts to help select works of art to be added to the regional and national collections
  • That long-term loans by collectors to museums should be encouraged as a way of discharging access responsibilities.
  • That responsibility for the negotiation and agreement of all in situ arrangements should lie with the recipient museums under the supervision of Resource, and that the agreements should be based on a model agreement.
  • That more published information guides on the methods of giving, bequeathing or selling objects to national or regional galleries be made available to owners, so that greater transparency can be achieved across the sector.
  • That all the recommendations regarding Gift Aid on objects (recommendations 34, 35 & 36) should be accepted and implemented, namely that: "donors, acting singly or together, of pre-eminent objects to Schedule 3 bodies and registered museums should be able to offset the gross value of the gift against income before liability to income tax, eliminating any liability to inheritance tax and capital gains tax on disposal of the objects, and should be able to allocate the value in instalments against gross income over successive tax years ; the system for these gifts should be based on the criteria of quality applied in the present Acceptance in Lieu system and that the evaluation and eligibility of gifts under this scheme should be administered by Resource."
  • Implementation of these recommendations would ensure the willingness of collectors to give generously to the nation, furthering local excellence and expertise. They would also provide the opportunity for galleries to nurture potential benefactors and develop longer term collecting polices.

    The Review can downloaded from: the Treasury website, click here.