Taxation of film production companies

Produced by Tolley in association with Richard Palmer
Taxation of film production companies

The following Corporation Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with Richard Palmer provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Taxation of film production companies
  • Introduction
  • Meaning of a film
  • Meaning of FPC
  • Co-productions
  • Taxation of film production companies
  • Calculation of income and costs
  • Costs of the film
  • Calculating profits and losses of separate film trade
  • Estimates
  • More...


Finance Act 1996 introduced aspecial regime for film production companies, now included in CTA 2009, ss 1188–1216. The legislation has two parts, firstly, legislation that applies to all companies regarding the recognition of income and costs and the treatment of losses, and asecond part that provides for arepayable tax credit to the company where aqualifying film is produced. For details of the film tax credit, see the Film production company tax credits guidance note. Film production companies have their own HMRC tax manual, ‘Film Production Companies’ (FPC). Finance Act 2013 introduced aseparate tax regime for companies producing television and animation programmes. See the Television tax reliefs ― key provisions guidance note for further details.

Meaning of afilm

A film is defined in CTA 2009, s 1181 as being “a sequence of visual images that is capable of being used as ameans of showing that sequence as amoving picture”. It includes images generated by computer and the soundtrack. It does not need to be aUK film.

Where the film production is aseries, it will be treated as asingle film provided it constitutes aself-contained work or aseries of documentaries with acommon theme, there are no more than 26 parts and the playing time is no more than 26 hours.

Meaning of FPC

To qualify as an FPC under CTA 2009, s 1182, the FPC must:

  1. be responsible for the pre-production, principal photography and the post production of the film as well as for delivery of the completed film

  2. be actively engaged in production planning and decision-making during the work

  3. directly negotiate, contract and pay for rights, goods and services in relation to the film

As there can only be one qualifying FPC in respect of afilm, careful consideration should be given to ensuring that the FPC fulfils all the requirements above and that no other company is involved in an area that would prevent the

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