Brits bow pic tax break

LONDON — After years of complaining about the fiscal structure of filmmaking in the U.K., the Brit movie industry is celebrating the new Labor government’s announcement of one-year 100% tax writeoffs for British films under $25 million made in the U.K., effective immediately.

The scheme will replace the former system of 100% tax writeoffs for British films over a period of three years, a structure the industry had pressed the previous Conservative government to change for some time.

Chancellor Gordon Brown made the announcement in his first budget to Parliament and said the initiative was designed to help keep the Brit film industry at home because “too many British films are made abroad.”

The change is small but should have a significant impact. Writing off a pic in the accounts of one year means filmmakers will have more money available to produce new projects.

Biz boost

“This is a real shot in the arm for the U.K. film industry,” said British Film Institute director Wilf Stevenson. “Until now the U.K. was alone in Europe in not having some form of tax incentive aimed at leveling the field for filmmakers.”

The government’s minister for film, Tom Clarke, said, “Today’s announcement shows that the government is serious about boosting film in Britain. In the U.S.A., film is one of the top three industries. With all our natural advantages in terms of talent, I believe our film industry has the potential to assume that sort of importance within our economy.”

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