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INDUSTRY / MARKET UK

The UK announces a new package of reforms to its audiovisual tax relief

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- Film and high-end TV productions will be eligible for a credit rate of 34%, whilst animation and children’s TV productions will benefit from a 39% rate

The UK announces a new package of reforms to its audiovisual tax relief
Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of the British Film Commission (left), and Ben Roberts, chief executive of the British Film Institute

On 14 March, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, confirmed that his spring budget would see an increase in the rates of the current tax credits while keeping the qualifying threshold in place.

The British government outlined its proposals for the audiovisual tax reliefs – namely, that following a public consultation, the film, TV and video-game tax reliefs will be reformed, becoming expenditure credits instead of additional deductions from 1 April 2024. In addition, a new Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit will replace the current tax reliefs in place for film, high-end TV, animation and children’s TV productions.

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In detail, film and high-end TV productions will be eligible for a credit rate of 34%, and animation and children’s TV productions will benefit from a 39% rate. The expenditure threshold for high-end TV productions will remain at £1 million per hour, although the minimum slot length will be reduced to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, the current tax reliefs will close to new productions from 1 April 2025. Films and TV shows that haven’t completed principal photography as well as video games that haven’t wrapped development by 1 April 2025 can continue to claim the relief under the current regime until 31 March 2027.

Many industry bodies and representatives have praised the new reform. The British Film Commission (BFC), the UK government’s national organisation responsible for international film and television production in the country, “welcomed the package of measures and the recognition it demonstrated from the government for the UK’s film and high-end TV sector”.

In the official press release published on 15 March, the BFC underscored how “the UK’s tax reliefs have influenced many productions’ decisions to base themselves in the UK, contributing billions of pounds to the economy and hundreds of thousands of jobs”.

Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of the BFC, said: “With increasingly intense international competition, we’re delighted to welcome this package of measures, future-proofing the UK’s film, high-end TV and animation tax credits and our position as a leading global production hub.

“While much of the detail is yet to be worked through, today’s announcement demonstrates a strong commitment from the government to continuing to support the growth of our film and TV sector, creating jobs and opportunities in all four UK nations and the region for years to come.”

Ben Roberts, chief executive of the British Film Institute, added: “The news today will ensure that the UK remains a truly globally competitive production hub, giving us economic recovery and growth, creating thousands of jobs for people up and down the country, and enabling creative talent and storytelling to thrive.

“It’s good news that the high-end TV threshold has been preserved. I am particularly heartened to see a much-needed boost for children’s television and animation as two areas of cultural and societal importance in which the UK excels creatively, but which still have significant growth potential.”

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