Treasury announces tax relief for creative industries

by Calum Fuller

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19 Jun 2012

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TAX RELIEFS for the creative industries have been announced by the Treasury in a consultation document.

It is hoped the scheme will make the UK a more attractive location for the production of high-budget television shows, animation and video games.

Currently, it is not unusual for high-end small-screen productions such as the BBC's Robin Hood, The Tudors and Julian Fellowes' Titanic to be shot abroad as it is often cheaper to do so.

The proposed design of the reliefs is based on the current film tax relief, which provided £200m of support to the British film industry in 2010-11, something it has enjoyed since 2007.

Andy Harries, chief executive of Left Bank Pictures, told the Press Association: "British production talent is responsible for some of the best television in the world and at the moment many productions, which could very easily be shot in the UK, are being made abroad and many talented creatives are moving elsewhere."

Only one day of Left Bank's two series of military agency thriller Strike Back was filmed in UK, which cost approximately £2.2m per episode.

Had there been tax reliefs available, Harries said more like a third of the series would have been filmed in the UK, instead of Hungary and South Africa, with as much as 75% of the budget staying in Britain.

Research carried out by the TV Coalition found that a UK tax credit similar to that seen in the film industry would generate at least £350m per year as a result of high-budget TV production relocating to the UK.

It found it could create thousands of jobs, preserving British jobs in a highly competitive economy.

Rachel Austin, tax director at Deloitte, said companies need to know the value of the proposed reliefs as soon as possible to start building it into their planning processes.

She went on: "If the government sets the rate of relief at the right level, the proposals will increase the UK's competitiveness in these sectors, encouraging additional investment in the UK and discouraging UK companies from producing culturally British content in countries that already offer incentives, such as Ireland, Hungary and France.

"The government has also indicated that the proposed reliefs are likely to include rules designed to prevent abuse, such as offloading the reliefs to private individuals through loss schemes."

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