UK Government Launches Consultation Period On Potential Reform And Merger Of Film & TV Tax Reliefs

The UK government has launched a consultation period asking industry leaders for comments on plans to reform and merge film, animation, high-end TV, and children’s TV tax relief measures into a single tax credit.

The consultation period is set to run until February 9, 2023, with the reforms to be implemented in spring 2024.

The government said the proposals aim to “simplify and modernise” the reliefs system and ensure they “boost growth in the audio-visual sectors whilst remaining fiscally sustainable.” However, the government said there will be no changes to the existing criteria that companies must meet to access tax relief.

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Right now, all British qualifying films of any budget can claim a payable cash rebate of up to 25% on UK qualifying expenditure. The tax relief is capped at 80% of the core expenditure. There is no limit on the budget of the film or the amount of relief payable within the 80% cap.

The proposal also tables several specific changes to tax reliefs on high-end television. The most prominent change is a potential increase in the minimum expenditure for high-end TV production, currently set at £1 million ($1.2 million). Tax reliefs on high-end TV was first launched in 2013, and the government said the current system “no longer reflects current production costs.”

Crunching the numbers, the UK Treasury said high-end TV accounted for 38% of the total amount of creative industry tax relief in 2022, while film accounted for 35%. This is the first time that the amount of high-end TV tax relief has exceeded film.

The government said the desire to modernize the system was due to the increasing “overlap between the eligibility requirements and legislation” for film and high-end TV.

In response, Harriet Finney, BFI’s Deputy CEO – Director of Corporate & Industry Affairs, said news of the consultation “demonstrates that the government recognizes the value of the sector, and sees its huge potential for further growth and job creation.”

Finney added: “We welcome the consultation and will continue to work closely with Government and our industry partners to support improvements to these incentives to ensure they deliver the best possible return on investment for the UK economy.”

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