£720,000 Tax Bill for The British Museum

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Being the most popular tourist attraction in the UK has its perks, but it also has a bit of a big downside, as The British Museum in London has recently discovered. It’s the tax bill. Camden Council have issued The British Museum with a £720,000 tax bill, and are expecting payment pretty promptly.
Lawyers for the museum, however, whose management are refusing to pay the enormous bill, say that the amount is wrong – they argue that it should be a reduced rate because the museum is a registered charity.
Which it is.
And that’s fine.
Except that Camden Council argue that the shops and the two restaurants within the museum itself are not charities, and therefore should pay the full rate of tax – which in this case seems to be adding up to a whopping £720,000.
The Valuation Office Agency, which is part of HM Revenue and Customs, are the ones who issued the bill to the Bloomsbury based museum which sees almost 7 million visitors each year. And the appeal that the museum bosses made to the council was rejected.
The reason behind the rejection seems to be that both the Great Court Restaurant and the Gallery Café are actually run by a separate, private catering firm named Benugo, which signed a £40 million, five year deal with The British Museum in 2012.
Now the museum itself denies the bill, saying that as a registered charity it shouldn’t have to pay, and Benugo also don’t want to have anything to do with it since they claim they work on behalf of the museum trust.
So who should pay? Anyone? No one? Who do you think is liable for the £720,000?
Comment and let us know what you think. And we’ll keep you up to date with the story.

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