U.K.: Tax incentives stay in place despite UK Film Council demise

Location: Europe - United Kingdom

Despite the demise of the U.K. Film Council, the system of tax incentives and selective funding for film production in Blighty remains essentially unaltered.

For films costing up to £20 million ($32 million), the tax credit pays 25% of Brit expenditure up to 80% of the budget — which translates to a net benefit of 20% for a film spending its entire cost in Blighty. Bigger films get 20% of 80%, or 16% net.

Films must be certified as culturally British, by an undemanding points system based on content, talent and facilities. But there’s no cap on expenditure, and the tax break even applies to the salaries of non-European talent.

The UKFC’s certification unit has moved to the British Film Institute, while the British Film Commission, which is responsible for attracting foreign productions and helping them to navigate the tax credit, is now based at Film London.

The UKFC’s Film Fund has also moved to the BFI, with its annual budget increased from $24 million to $29 million. It sometimes backs foreign helmers making British films, such as Jane Campion and Lone Scherfig.

Northern Ireland also has a $6 million annual production incentive for shooting in the province, offering up to $1.3 million with a 25% budget maximum, though this upper limit can be breached in exceptional cases. Wales has a $19 million Creative IP Fund which will provide gap finance up to $1.1 million for projects shooting in Wales. Creative Scotland offers no specific incentives for incoming production.

With a long tradition of hosting major Hollywood film projects, the U.K. deep numbers of expert crews capable of working on numerous large-scale productions at any one time.

The square mile of Soho in central London boasts the greatest density of top-class VFX companies and talent anywhere in the world.
VFX: Specialist film VFX houses Double Negative, Cinesite, Framestore and MPC have around 2,500 artists between them.
Post-Production: The leading full-service post-production houses include Molinare, Lipsync and Prime Focus. Numerous VFX boutiques include Men From Mars and BaseBlack.

British Film Commission
Colin Brown, commissioner Adrian Wootton, chief exec of Film London
+44 (0)20 7613 7676
Northern Ireland Screen
Richard Williams, chief executive
+44 (28) 9023 2444
Email: info@northernirelandscreen.co.uk

The U.K. tax credit applies to the salaries of foreign actors and directors shooting British qualifying