Knowledge

Tax reliefs available for creative industry workers

Posted on Dec 14th, 2016 | Tax

Good news if you’re freelancing, contracting, or running your own business in the TV, animation, or video game industries: you may be entitled to pay less Corporation Tax.

There are currently six different types of creative industry projects that can benefit – films, animation, high-end television, children’s television, video games and theatre productions.

Each relief has very specific criteria that the project concerned must meet, and we would advise speaking to your accountant to clarify whether your production qualifies. This information is for guidance purposes only.

This article covers:

Your company may be entitled to claim Animation Tax Relief on a programme if:

  • it passes the cultural test – a similar test to that for Film Tax Relief but within the European Economic Area (EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway)
  • it is intended for broadcast
  • at least 51% of the total core expenditure is on animation
  • at least 10% of the total production costs relate to activities in the UK.

Animations commissioned together are treated as a single programme. There is no cap on the amount that can be claimed.

Who doesn’t qualify for Animation Tax Relief?

Sadly, your company can’t claim ATR if the programme:

  • is an advertisement or promotional programme
  • is a news, current affairs, or discussion programme
  • is a quiz or game show, panel show, variety show, or similar programme
  • consists of, or includes an element of, competition or contest
  • broadcasts live events, including theatrical and artistic performances
  • is produced for training purposes.

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Your company will be entitled to Children’s Television Tax Relief on a programme if:

  • the programme passes the cultural test – a similar test to that for Film Tax Relief, but within the European Economic Area (EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway)
  • the programme is intended for broadcast
  • the primary audience is expected to be under the age of 15
  • at least 10% of the total production costs relate to activities in the UK.

Quizzes, game shows, and other programmes including an element of competition or contest may qualify, but only if the prize total does not exceed £1,000.

Programmes commissioned together are treated as one programme.

Who doesn’t qualify for Children’s Television Tax Relief?

Your company cannot claim CTR if the programme:

  • is an advertisement or promotional programme
  • is a news, current affairs, or discussion programme
  • is a panel show, variety show, or similar programme
  • broadcasts live events, including theatrical, and artistic performance
  • is produced for training purposes.

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Regardless of budget, your company will be entitled to claim Film Tax Relief on a project if:

  • It passes the British Film Institute’s cultural test and is considered British
  • It’s intended for theatrical release
  • At least 10% of the total production costs relate to activities in the UK
  • The first day of principal photography took place on or after 1 January 2007.

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Your company will be entitled to High-end Television Tax Relief on a TV programme if:

  • it passes the cultural test – a similar test to that for Film Tax Relief but within the European Economic Area (EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway)
  • it’s intended for broadcast
  • it’s a drama, comedy or documentary
  • at least 10% of the total production costs relate to activities in the UK
  • the average qualifying production costs per hour of production length is not less than £1 million per hour
  • the slot length in relation to the programme is greater than 30 minutes.

Programmes commissioned together are treated as one programme.

Who doesn’t qualify for High-end Television Tax Relief?

Sadly, your company can’t claim HTR if the programme:

  • is an advertisement or promotional programme
  • is a news, current affairs, or discussion programme
  • is a quiz or game show, panel show, variety show, or similar programme
  • consists of or includes an element of competition or contest
  • broadcasts live events, including theatrical and artistic performances
  • is produced for training purposes.

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Your theatrical production company will be entitled to claim TTR on a production if:

  • it is “a play, opera, musical, or other dramatic piece” where the actors, singers, dancers or other performers give their performances wholly or mainly through the (predominantly live) playing of roles
  • 25% or more of the core expenditure on the theatrical production incurred by the company is on goods or services that are provided from within the European Economic Area (EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway).

For more information on TTR, consult the Theatre Tax Relief Manual.

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Your company will be entitled to claim VGTR if:

  • the game is British
  • the game is intended for supply
  • at least 25% of core expenditure (i.e. pre-development, principal photography and post-development) is incurred on goods or services that are provided from within the European Economic Area (EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway).

Unfortunately, if your company has claimed Research and Development Relief on a project, no VGTR, grants, or any other state aid reliefs can be claimed on that project.

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