Manimation – Going Global: The UK Tax Break

Posted on: Friday 22 November 2013 5:58pm by Samuel Hutchinson

Speakers: Anna Mansi (Head of Certification, BFI) and Moses Nyachae (Director of Film and TV, Saffery Champness).

Our speakers were described during the introduction as a double-act, but any implications that this session might adopt a comedic vibe were shortlived. It was all business – but valuable business, for sure.

The audience was eager for the details surrounding the UK Animation Tax Break (introduced in April of this year) which is applicable when your animation expenses make up 51% of the total cost of your production. And what is it worth? Tax Credit of up to 25% of 80% of your total budget, as long as you’re eligible.

And how do you know you’re eligible?  In captain-dumby language, you just have to make sure your production jumps through as many British hoops as possible. For instance, your production taking place in the UK, being produced by UK companies, being broadcast in the UK, being written in the English language, being written by UK writers etc, etc all help! And for the animation tax break (as opposed to the film or high-end drama incentives) the stories don;t have to be set in Britain – as the scheme recognises that fantasy plays a part in animated story telling, so undefined locations are allowed.

Of course, you don’t have to tick ALL of these boxes – if anything the BFI certification process seemed very accessible, and Anna Mansi pointed out that they have approved many more applications than they have denied. However, if you make sure that you qualify then there are some pretty good incentives!

The certification process is run through BFI and, in the midst of this friendly but informative session, it became clear that they are very open to being contacted if you have any questions or concerns. So, what are you waiting for? Make sure you’re eligible!

On the accountancy side Moses laid out the way in which the tax break works, what the implications for the producer are and how it affects co-productions and relationships with other funding, broadcaster support etc.

Around 30 productions are in the BFI pipeline for approval and some are already under way.  Contributors from the floor confirmed that there is a renewed interest in British animation, and Anna Mansi quoted Oli Hyatt – one of the key campaigners who drove the tax-break through to government approval – “Britain is no longer the Poundshop of world animation – we’re Harrods again”.

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Samuel Hutchinson

About the author

Samuel Hutchinson

BBC, Script Reader

Upon graduating from Bournemouth University's Scriptwriting degree in 2012, Sam started working as a Script Reader for BBC Continuing Drama. He has since also become Development Executive for independent film company, Silver Leaf Pictures, and is currently developing further feature film projects with We Move Pictures, who will be taking… Read more