Business patrons to the arts to benefit from 150% tax deduction

Through Arts Council Malta, businesses will be able to donate up to €50,000 to an artistic body and get a 150% tax deduction

Teodor Reljic
30 March 2016, 11:25am
Culture Minister Owen Bonnici
Culture Minister Owen Bonnici
Launched today at Spazju Kreattiv, St James Cavalier, Valletta, a new scheme put together by Arts Council Malta will allow businesses to donate up to €50,000 to an artistic body, and get a 150% tax deduction. 

The initiative forms part of the Budget 2016 plan, in which government announced a new measure to further encourage partnerships between Malta's business community and the cultural sector. 

The scheme aims to attract companies whose corporate-social responsibility portfolio values the arts, and who are interested in opening up dialogue and collaboration with local artistic bodies. The scheme differs from a sponsorship in that there will be no requirement on the part of the artists to mention or promote the sponsor within their event or cultural activity.

Businesses will be able to donate both to public cultural organisations – such as the Manoel Theatre, St James Cavalier and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra among others – as well as cultural bodies registered as non-profit cultural organisations, including NGOs and Voluntary Organisations. Arts Council Malta will then serve as a mediator between the commercial and artistic bodies.

Speaking at the press conference launching the scheme, Arts Council Malta Chairman commended the effort as being part of the Council's work towards its Strategy 2020 plan, as well as facilitating a necessary connection between the arts and the commercial sector. Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said that while the connection between the arts and commerce may not be readily apparent for some people, the fact remains that those working in the artistic sector are intimately familiar with the importance of establishing links with business partners. 

"Besides, the arts and culture scene in Malta has changed radically over the past few years. We can safely say that cultural activities are no longer looked at as being simply hobbies, but that we are moving further towards professionalisation," Bonnici added, claiming that the scheme will help ensure that artists will no longer be solely reliant on government schemes to execute their projects.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna described the scheme as being an example of how the annual Budget, "is not simply an accounting exercise for government" but that it in fact facilitates "instruments that help our society, without interfering too much into people's work". 

"It is obvious that when a country moves forward, its cultural developments follow suit. A country cannot call itself modern if it doesn't have a strong cultural scene," Scicluna added, specifying that culture here can also incorporate research, development and educational initiatives. 

Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...