A four-year battle to have the VAT levy lifted on a prestigious Birmingham art gallery has been won, meaning it can now spend up to £50,000 a year on additions to their collection.
The Barber Institute of Fine Arts was a victim of a tax loophole which meant university-based museums and galleries were regarded as private institutions and were considered exempt from the tax breaks being enjoyed by local authorities.
However, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has extended its "free access" policy to include 48 university museums and galleries across the country.
Minister for Culture David Lammy said: " Widening access to our cultural heritage is essential, which is why we have been working with the national museums to progressively eradicate entry fees.
"Visits are up by 7.4 million on three years ago.
"But it is important not to stop here and through this latest extension of the free access policy, university museums and galleries will now also be able to claim VAT refunds, helping them to do more to make our cultural heritage freely available to everyone."
Along with the University of Birmingham's Lapworth Museum, the Barber can now claim back VAT paid from August 2004.
A spokesman for the Institute said: "This is great news for us.
"We have never charged admission, either for the permanent collection or for exhibitions, which are obviously very expensive to stage, so it is good to be operating on a more level playing field now we too can reclaim VAT, as other national and local-authorityrun museums and galleries can.
"The money will help provide a welcome fillip for our key activities - maintaining what is in effect a mini National Gallery for the Midlands and enabling purchasing new works of art for the collection, staging world-class exhibitions and concerts, or providing excellent educational and outreach work for schools and the community."