High End Televison Tax Relief - Improvements 2015

Lowering the HETV tax relief minimum spend requirement to 10% could have significant benefits for the UK's VFX and post production sectors. UK Screen made the case to HM Treasury for changes.

UPDATE 18/03/15 - Chancellor announces changes to HETV tax relief. See here.


In the 2014 Autumn Statement George Osborne announced that the government would explore with industry whether to change the high-end television tax relief (which came into effect April 2013), by reducing the minimum UK expenditure requirement from 25% to 10% and modernising the cultural test.

This would bring the rules in line with the film tax relief, which was changed with effect from April 2014, to:


    • Reduce the minimum UK expenditure requirement from 25% to 10% to encourage further investment in the UK and benefit visual effects/post production and wider industry, and helping UK independent production companies by encouraging minority co-productions


    • Modernise the cultural test. The test was updated to include an increase in the points available for principal photography/ special effects/ visual effects and EEA language.


UK Screen was invited to contribute to an informal consultation and members met recently to discuss the two proposed changes - which are of interest to the facilities sector as they are intended to encourage more ‘culturally British’ projects shooting outside the UK to bring their VFX, post and secondary shoot work to the UK.  We’ve seen some excellent VFX and post work done in the UK when productions have shot here to take advantage of the HETV tax relief (Fortitude, 24) but if the principal photography is done overseas then UK companies are often excluded from the opportunity to bid for work because it is very difficult to reach the current minimum spend requirement of 25% of total core budget. Hence the work is often placed in countries with incentives that don’t require a minimum spend.


We’ve lobbied on the minimum expenditure requirement and Cultural Test points before and these two changes were incorporated in the Film tax relief from April 2014. Members were in agreement that the HETV relief should be brought into line with the Film tax relief, in order to increase the opportunities for our sector and the wider industry. UK Screen's CEO, Sarah Mackey, and MDs from post production and VFX members attended industry round table meetings at HM Treasury and made a strong case for implementing these changes. We are hoping for a decision on this before the election.

UK Screen members can view the submission document in our Members Area.