George Osborne To Offer Tax Relief On High End TV Series Produced In The UK

It appears chancellor George Osborne is a fan of British dramas - provided they're on the telly, and not in the corridors of Whitehall.

Buried in the detail of the Autumn Statement, Huff Post UK can reveal the government is planning to introduce a new TV corporation tax credit, which could generate an additional spend of at least £350 million per year in the UK in the creation of new TV series.

Currently, many UK TV series are filmed overseas to get around the tough taxation regime in the UK; Birdsong, The Tudors, Camelot, Parade’s End and Julian Fellowes’ Titanic were all filmed abroad to avoid the high cost of UK-based production. Bonnet drama Downton Abbey was one of the rare exceptions which was filmed here.

This news was originally mentioned as part of the corporate tax reliefs announced on 5 December. Under these reliefs, qualifying companies will be able to choose between an additional deduction at a rate of 100% of enhanceable expenditure or a payable tax credit at a rate of 25% of qualifying losses surrendered.

There will now be a 12-week consultation period on this draft legislation, ending on 6 February, 2013 and it is expected that the tax relief will be in effect and will apply to qualifying expenditure incurred on or after 1 April, 2013, subject to EU state aid approval.

The campaign to have the TV Tax Credit introduced was spearheaded by Charles Moore, film and TV partner at law firm Wiggin, along with Stephen Bristow of Saffery Champness.

Moore told the Huffington Post UK he was thrilled the government has agreed to look at draft legislation just 12 months after Moore approached it.

“The government has reaffirmed its commitment to the UK's creative industries and the incentives spelt out in the draft legislation provide another fantastic boost to the entire media sector," he said.

"In the TV industry, a 25% tax relief will help the UK to remain truly competitive with other international incentives and the additional attraction of our world-class talent, facilities and intellectual property will mean that the UK will soon become one of the world's most popular filmmaking destinations for high-end drama."

The £350m a year spend in the UK for these TV series would result in a total return of over £1 billion per year to the UK economy, as well as far-reaching benefits to regional economies in terms of employment, skills and infrastructure, according to Moore and Bristow's report.

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