Television tax reliefs ― the cultural tests

By Tolley

The following Corporation Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Television tax reliefs ― the cultural tests
  • Introduction to the reliefs
  • The cultural tests
  • Excluded programmes
  • Making an application for certification
  • Practical considerations

Introduction to the reliefs

Tax reliefs for the production of high-end television programmes and animations were introduced by FA 2013 and included in CTA 2009, ss 1216A–1216EC (Part 15A). The rules were extended by FA 2015, s 30 to provide relief for qualifying expenditure incurred on the production of children’s television programmes. The relief for each type of television programme is known as television tax relief (TTR). See the Television tax reliefs ― key provisions and Television tax reliefs ― the separate programme trade guidance notes for further information on the relief itself.

One of the criteria that must be satisfied in order to obtain TTR is that the high-end television programme, animation or children’s television programme must be certified as British by the Secretary of State of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The process of assessing programmes and certification is dealt with by the Certification Unit of the British Film Institute (BFI) on behalf of the DCMS. This guidance note summarises the cultural tests that must be met by a television production company and the processes involved in obtaining certification.

CTA 2009, s 1216CB
The cultural tests
The Regulations

All references in this guidance note to SI 2013/1831 and SI 2015/1449 are subscription sensitive.

Statutory Instrument 2013/1831 (Cultural Test (Television Programmes) Regulations 2013) (the ‘2013 Regulations’)  first came into force on 13 August 2013, and set out the cultural tests applicable for high-end TV programmes in Regulation 3, and animations in Regulation 4.

Following the extension of TTR to children’s TV programmes, the 2013 Regulations were amended by SI 2015/1449 (The Cultural Test (Television Programmes) (Amendment) Regulations 2015) (‘the 2015 Amendment Regulations’) to include a new cultural test for children’s TV programmes in Regulation 4A. These ‘revised 2013 Regulations’ came into force on 23 July 2015

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