Television tax reliefs ― the separate programme trade

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

  • Television tax reliefs ― the separate programme trade
  • Introduction
  • The separate programme trade
  • Calculating the profits and losses of the separate trade
  • Income
  • Expenses
  • Obtaining the relevant information

Introduction

This guidance note supplements the Television tax reliefs ― key provisions guidance note, which sets out the main conditions to be satisfied in order to qualify for television tax relief (TTR).

The legislation relating to TTR was introduced by FA 2013 and is included in CTA 2009, ss 1216A–1216EC (Pt 15A). It provides relief for qualifying expenditure incurred on high-end television productions and animations. The legislation was subsequently extended by FA 2015, s 30 to include relief for qualifying expenditure incurred on the production of children’s television programmes.

The tax reliefs available for the three categories of production (high-end television, animations and children’s television programmes) are not separated by type and are referred to collectively as TTR in the legislation. There are no differences in how the rules relating to the separate programme trade apply to the three production types.

Animation tax relief, along with the other reliefs for high-end television and video games, must have state aid approval from the EU. At the time of writing in May 2018, the approval for animation relief has lapsed with effect from 1 April 2018. It is expected that it will be renewed in due course and extended for five years to 31 March 2023 but the situation requires monitoring before any expenditure is committed in this area.

The separate programme trade

Following the introduction of the legislation referred to above, television production companies are not taxed in the same way as other trading companies. The activities relating to the production of each relevant television programme, or other activities being carried on by the television production company, are treated as separate trades. The legislation sets out the way in which the profits and losses of the separate programme trade must be calculated. The separate trade is treated as commencing when pre-production begins or, if earlier, when any

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