02 Nov 2021 9:09 AM

Last week the UK Chancellor announced his much anticipated Autumn budget. There was a raft of new measures aimed at helping the UK economy level up post Covid. In the middle of this you could be forgiven if you missed the announcements affecting the film and TV sector.

So here is a Summary of the Film and TV Specific announcements.

Switching Between FTR and HETV during Production

It’s ever more critical for producers and film-makers to adapt to changing trends as content is accessed in different ways. An emerging trend that accelerated during the pandemic is an increase in the number of films being released directly onto streaming sites (and not going through the traditional route of a theatrical release). 

Originally, amongst all the other criteria to qualify for High-End Television Tax Relief (HETV) the production must be intended from the outset, for public broadcast via television or the internet. Whilst to qualify for Film tax relief (FTR) there must have been an intention for theatrical release, but the intention must have been at the end of every accounting period rather than at the outset.

A common recurring dilemma for film makers was becoming increasingly apparent:

Film maker is part way through producing a film.  Distributor tells them that they need to broadcast on TV or the internet to be commercially viable.

The impact of this move is two fold:

  1. Film maker loses FTR.
  2. Film maker not eligible to claim HETV (as they were unable to specify the broadcast intention from the outset).

This impact could be devastating for a production and could lead to it being shelved or abandoned.

The Government has recognised this dilemma and have now made it easier to switch between the two reliefs and have introduced a change to help avoid productions losing out on valuable tax relief. 

From 1st April 2022 if a producer switches from the intention of theatrical release to the intention to broadcasting on TV or the internet they can continue to claim FTR as long as they meet all the other conditions for HETV.

This announcement is bound to excite an already booming industry, the blurring lines between film and HETV has been commentated on for several years. It is encouraging to see that the UK government has recognised this and acted quickly to come up with a practical solution to prevent productions falling between the cracks.

We are working with production companies on claiming FTR and HETV.  If you have any questions about how the creative tax reliefs work please do get in touch.