International Exchange: Focus On UK Tax breaks

Posted on: Wednesday 03 July 2013 1:16pm by Milly Ali


An exciting opportunity for UK animation companies! We’re one of the first companies to pass the Cultural Test and have received our ‘Letter of Comfort’.
Ian McKinnon (McKinnon & Saunders)

The Animation world turns its eye to the UK again…. exciting times for old and new players.
Professor Phil Organ (UWTS: Swansea Met)

UK Tax Relief programme has worked successfully for the film industry, so the transition for the Animation industry should be smooth.
Moses Nyachae (Saffrey Champness)

It’s AWESOME news that the Government have recognised the enormous creative talent in the UK
Richard Higgs (Co-creator & Producer, Clifton Village)

A sensational opportunity to embrace Matt Porter (The Foundation)


Top Ten Takeaways:

  1. Seek the experts and get good advice
  2. Utilising Media specialists gives banks/lenders more confidence to invest
  3. Get your budgets as detailed as possible
  4. Check your budget, then double check
  5. Get the right legal advice
  6. Engage with banks/lenders as early as possible to start dialogue
  7. Don’t try and bend the Tax Relief programme
  8. Be transparent in your budget, honesty is important otherwise you will be found out!
  9. Qualification for the Tax Relief Programme offers lots of latitude and works on a ‘Fair & Reasonable’ basis.
  10. If you’re concerned about passing the Cultural Test, please contact the British Film Institute.

The CMC International Exchange’s first “Focus On…” session was an overview of the British Animation Tax Relief programme. The UK Animation industry has lobbied actively, aggressively and enthusiastically and since April 2013, the programme is in place (well almost!).

Exciting times for animators and companies who in the past would otherwise have gone overseas to reduce costs and increase profit margins to keep their shareholders happy! It’s now time to look at coming back to the UK.

Animation programmes need to qualify as either British (pass a UK Cultural test, no that doesn’t include singing the national anthem!) or as an official Co-Production with 6 countries recognised under the bi-lateral co-production agreements. It’s basically the same tax relief programme for films which now has been extended to include animation series.

If you pass the Cultural test which is a 16 point score system, you’ll receive a ‘letter of comfort’ to then go ahead and secure funding from banks, private investors and the like. There are still some concerns over the finer details that require further clarification. Admittedly it looks like a minefield, but the experts in the know assure animators that the Tax Relief qualification process is there to help and not hinder!

Having spoken to lots of animation creatives, the news is met with enormous cheer! And it seems our overseas partners are excited about coming to the UK.

The more the merrier, we say!

Helen Brunsdon

Mike Watts, Novel Entertainment
Matt Porter, The Foundation
Rosemary Klein,
Jackie Edwards, CBeebies Acquisitions
Moses Nyachae, Saffrey Champness
Andy Ledger, Barclays Bank
Anna Mansi, BFI
Genevieve Dexter, Serious Lunch

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Milly Ali, Producer & Director

About the author

Milly Ali

Producer & Director

Milly has worked for the BBC, ITV and several major indies on multiple genres - Observational documentaries, Factual Entertainment, History and Crime docu-dramas. She has made programmes for all the major UK broadcasters: BBC, ITV, Ch4, Channel 5 and produced for digital channels Yesterday and the Crime and Investigation Network… Read more