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UK movies receive £100m in relief

25 September 2009
Categories: News , Business , Income Tax
Productions need incentives too, warns media expert

More than 170 UK films received in excess of £100 million of tax relief during 2008/09, according to newly released figures from the Treasury. 

The monetary figure is a drop of around £4 million on the previous year’s amount – although the number of movies that benefited was an increase of about 58%.

Over 95% of payments were made within six months of a claim being received by HMRC’s Manchester-based Film Tax Credit Unit, claims the Treasury.

Film tax relief was launched in 2007 to help promote the sustainable production of British movies. It increases the amount of expenditure during production that is deductible for tax purposes.

For a film to be eligible it must qualify as British, either by passing a test administered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, or under an agreed co-production treaty. Additionally, at least 25% of the total production expenditure must be incurred in the UK.

Minister for the creative industries Siôn Simon said: ‘The UK has been responsible for some tremendously successful films in the past year, both artistically and at the box office.

'Without film tax relief this level of success simply wouldn’t be possible, with many of the big hits of recent years never making it into production... so, film tax relief is an investment that is repaid many times over.’

David Nickson, media tax partner at KPMG, added a cautionary note to the Government’s announcement, warning that ‘a balance still needs to be achieved between tax relief and incentives to help the film industry maintain the successes of recent years’.

‘UK Film Council statistics show that UK feature film production-spend has dropped from £840 million in 2006, when the old investor-led incentives were in force, to £578 million in 2008, when the new credit for film production companies applied,’ said Mr Nickson.

'Therefore, while the new film tax credit is still a very welcome benefit, the decline clearly coincides with the removal of investor tax incentives.'

Categories: News , Business , Income Tax
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