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Future of arts festival at risk as Spanish Treasury demands €1 million in arrears

Director has called it a “shock to the sector” having and “irreversible impact” on festival


27 November 2017 12:52 PM


ACN | Barcelona

The future of the theatre and arts festival Temporada Alta could be in jeopardy, as the Spanish treasury is claiming one million euros in VAT for the cultural subsidies it has received over the last four years.

The director of the event, Salvador Sunyer, has warned of the “difficult viability of the festival,” now that the treasury is demanding the VAT when previously VAT was never asked for subsidies given to cultural sector.

In a statement, he said that other cultural entities are also being affected, calling it a “shock to the sector” having an “irreversible impact” on the festival Temporada Alta.

This demand of payment, the director recalled, comes after “the recent approval of the Congress of Deputies not to apply (VAT) to subsidies granted in culture” in the future. Sunyer said they will take the matter to court to avoid payment, or they may face closure.

In previous years, subsidies have been granted to the cultural sector without the need to pay VAT, but this change in law now makes it official.

The Girona festival has a budget of around 3 million euros this year, of which one million comes from public subsidies.

Sunyer has expressed his “disagreement” on the matter, and “the enormous difficulty” of the tax agency’s demand regarding the Temporada Alta and “other cultural entities in the country.”

He lamented that the festival “is in danger of not taking place in the coming years, and that right now it does not have the money to make this payment.” 

They are not alone. The Spanish treasury is also demanding one million euros from the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC) and the Mercat de les Flors in VAT from subsidies received over recent years.

Also the Teatre Lliure, one of the major theatres in Barcelona, has been demanded to pay 1.3 million euros. A quantity it has said that if paid, it could lead to its closure.

These cultural entities, all in jeopardy should they be forced to pay these sums, will contest the Treasury’s decision.


  • Image of work entitled “Guerilla” at Temporada Alta arts festival (by Titanne Bregentzer / Temporada Alta)

  • Image of work entitled “Guerilla” at Temporada Alta arts festival (by Titanne Bregentzer / Temporada Alta)