Big Budget Shoots Benefiting From U.K. Film Tax Relief

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Warner Bros.

Studio-backed projects among titles from U.K. production spend topping $7.7 billion since 2007.

LONDON – Tax credit payments to large budget films – mostly U.S. studio backed projects -- averaged £3.7 million ($5.7 million) per claim since the system came into force in January 2007.

Figures released by the U.K. government’s Revenue department show the take-up, cost and delivery of the relief for the first time since being introduced.

Based on information received by May 31, 2011 about claims received and payments made, 760 film productions have become eligible to claim the relief since its inception.

Of these, 650 film productions have made 1080 claims totaling £645 million ($998 million) and the Revenue said that 955 claims by 585 films have received payments totaling £570 million ($882 million).

Figures also show that total production expenditure by films claiming the relief hit £5 billion ($7.7 billion), of which a healthy 75 percent was incurred in the U.K.

Claims by large-budget films – titles such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, Captain America: The First Avenger, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Hugo Cabret  -- totaled £390 million ($604 million).

One hundred claims, or 9 percent, were made by large-budget films classed by the Revenue as those with production budgets of £20 million ($31 million) and over.

Tax and accountancy giant RSM Tenon, a leading practitioner in advising U.S. studios and indie producers alike, thinks the figures show the tax relief system is working.

RSM Tenon’s John Graydon said: “This is great news for filmmakers and for the U.K. economy. It demonstrates that filmmakers are using the film tax relief more than ever.  A study into the economic impact of the tax relief found that for every £1 ($1.5) paid out in tax relief, £13 ($20) was contributed to the U.K.’s GDP. “