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VAT Section 33a


This is a VAT refund scheme aimed at supporting the provision of free access to museums and galleries. It allows eligible museums and galleries to claim back VAT incurred on most goods and services purchased in order to grant free rights of admission to their collections.

This is different to the Museums and galleries tax relief.

Who can apply?

Until March 2016, the eligibility for this was with the National and University museums and galleries, but the eligibility criteria have now been broadened.

However, there are strict conditions for inclusion in the scheme and it’s not sufficient that a museum or gallery admits the public free of charge. Further eligbility criteria can be found on the HMRC website.

Application timings

The section VAT33a related guidance and application were updated and the Scheme re-opened for applications in May 2018 and will remain open to applicants until Friday 4 January 2019. This deadline was extended in October 2018.

Further information on the scheme is available on the HMRC website and the application form can be found at the bottom of this page. The VAT Notice information can also be found on their website. 

Applicants should email their completed forms to


Learn more

For full information on the scheme, visit the HMRC website.

Further assistance can be found on Scott Moncrieff’s website.