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U.K. Pays Out $2.24 Billion in Film Tax Relief in Nine Years

LONDON — The U.K. government has paid out almost £1.5 billion ($2.24 billion) in film tax relief since the current rebate model was introduced in January 2007, its statistics unit has reported.

Some £1 billion ($1.49 billion) of this was paid to big-budget films, and £450 million ($671 million) to lower-budget films. There have been 2,615 claims since the rebate started. In 2014-15, there were 485 claims and more than £250 million ($373 million) paid out. In comparison, in 2007-08 there were 115 claims and £104 million ($155 million) paid out.

The films that have qualified for the rebate in 2015 have included “Mr Holmes,” “Suffragette,” “Avengers: The Age of Ultron” and “Genius,” which world premieres in February at the Berlin Film Festival.

The high-end television tax relief, which has been available since April 2013 to TV productions budgeted at £1 million ($1.49 million) or more an hour, resulted in government pay-outs totaling £92 million ($137 million). In 2013-14, £52 million ($77.5 million) was claimed and £51 million ($76 million) paid out.

Animation tax relief has produced £10 million ($14.9 million) in pay-outs since it bowed in April 2013. In 2013-14, almost £4 million ($5.96 million) was claimed and £3 million ($4.47 million) paid out.

Stephen Bristow, head of business development — film and TV at accounting firm Saffery Champness, commented: “The announcement of the cost of the creative sector tax reliefs for film, high-end television and animation demonstrates the enormous commitment the government has made to the creative sector.

“The creative industries are a huge contributor to the U.K. economy, adding billions to the U.K. GDP and employing more than 1.8 million jobs up and down the country. Employment in the creative industries is at twice the rate of the wider economy. These jobs range from high-tech innovators in the post-production sector to plumbers, carpenters, electricians and drivers.”

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