Details emerge regarding improved tax credit for UK independent film productions

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Details have been revealed, outlining how the government’s new initiative – aimed at revitalising the UK independent sector – will work for smaller film productions.

Just last week it was announced that the UK independent sector would be able to tap into further tax relief, something that struggling producers had been requesting for a long, long time. Although the UK film industry is generally booming (although not of late, thanks to a year of turmoil caused by the strikes in America) things aren’t as rosy for the producers looking to get smaller British films off the ground.

Last year proved that British, low-budget filmmaking can compete with cinema from any territory, thanks to high-quality releases such as Rye Lane, Scrapper and Polite Society. However, getting projects such as these off the ground is incredibly difficult given that UK studio space, crews and costs are at a premium thanks to the huge influx of business from Hollywood and across the world.

So just a couple of days ago, the chancellor’s new budget outline revealed that the long-requested new level of tax relief was coming. Thanks to Screen Daily, we now have an idea of what the requirements and benefits of this new initiative will look like:

‘Under the IFTC [Independent Film Tax Credit], eligible films will be able to opt-in to claim enhanced Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit (AVEC), at a rate of 53%, on their qualifying expenditure, which equates to around 40% in relief.

To be eligible for the IFTC, films will need to have production budgets (excluding marketing and distribution) of up to £15m. There is no lower budget limit.

Films will also need to meet criteria set out in a new British Film Institute (BFI) test, with the expectation films will need to meet at least one of the following conditions: have a UK writer; a UK director; or; be certified as an official UK co-production.’

Even micro-budget films made in Britain will be able to claim this added tax relief, then, with no lower limit and the upwards limit being £15m. Hopefully, the BFI’s criteria for entry isn’t as loose as previous definitions have been, otherwise we could end up simply seeing a huge influx of low-budget, international productions heading here as UK co-productions, which could actually make the situation worse. We’re sure this has been take into account, but all the same, we’re looking forward to seeing a definitive final criteria for the BFI’s test. We’ll bring you more on this one as we hear it.

Read more: UK union Bectu calls for government intervention to tackle freelancer ‘crisis’

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