Letter: Save the arts

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The Independent Online
The Museums & Galleries Commission (MGC) welcomes The Independent's campaign to save the arts. In particular we were interested to read your suggested changes in taxation policy. The MGC has already made a submission to the tax authorities, responding to the Chancellor's review of charity taxation, and called for a number of reforms.

Our response calls for even stronger tax breaks for the arts and heritage. We want to see tax relief on donations to all museums registered with the MGC, not just charitable museums and galleries. All donations to the arts, however small, should qualify for tax relief and we want simpler and fairer rules on so-called "benefits" from donations, to avoid individual and corporate donors being discouraged from making donations by inappropriate tax rules. We also believe that major donors should be able to give assets, such as paintings, instead of cash, and obtain relief.

In addition the MGC has made several recommendations to reduce the VAT burden currently experienced by the museum sector. We are now waiting for the Government to publish its consultation document on the charity tax review before making further representation on this issue.

VANESSA HARRIS

Head of Finance and Administration

Museums & Galleries Commission

London SW1

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