Update on Creative Tax Reliefs, Gift Aid and banking for charities

Making Music reports on increased rates for Creative Tax Reliefs announced in the Spring Budget. We also discuss the outcome of the charity banking survey and the latest on Gift Aid.

Creative Tax reliefs and Gift Aid update

The recent Budget brought good news for groups claiming Creative Tax reliefs. The tax reliefs are available to instrumental and musical theatre/opera groups, and had a temporary uplift applied to help with post Covid recovery. This meant groups could claim back 50% of their qualifying costs. The temporary uplift was due to go back down to the original rate of 25%. The rate has now been fixed at a permanent 45% for instrumental groups, 40% for musical theatre/opera groups from April 2025. This will be a huge boost to groups, providing regular and sustainable income, and offering them the chance to invest in new projects and activities. 

A big thank you to the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) for leading the campaign on OTR and to all of our members for contributing with data and case studies.

If you are an instrumental group and want to find out more about Creative tax reliefs read our introductory guidance. Musical theatre/opera groups can get in touch directly to find out more.

There was a smaller but equally important piece of news in the budget. The proposed Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill looks to offer consumers protection from unwanted auto-renewing subscriptions. This could have had unintended negative consequence on charities claiming Gift Aid on their membership subscriptions. The Charity Tax Group picked up on this and the Budget confirmed that amendments will be tabled to the proposed bill to protect charities being able to claim Gift Aid on their membership subscriptions. Making Music contributed to this campaign using data provided by members in the Big Survey to demonstrate the value of Gift Aid to the sector. 

Find out more about claiming Gift Aid on membership subscriptions.

Finally on the budget, the chancellor also announced an additional £5 million for the Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund, to support the modernisation and improvement of village halls across England. These halls are vital for music making, and maintaining this essential infrastructure is a key ask from our #MakeSpaceForMusic campaign

Banking update 

In the February iNotes, we wrote about the banking problems being faced by the charity sector and circulated a national survey for members to complete. The results of this survey are now available and show that nearly half of charities experience issues when banking. The Charity Commission has published a summary of the data.  

As we reported in February there is a lot of work being done to improve the situation and the data will be hugely valuable for this work. Making Music will continue to represent members and keep everyone updated on its progress.