Back to homepage


Fri 17th Mar 2023

Changes to tax reliefs a welcome recognition of film and TV industry’s importance to UK growth

During his Spring Budget, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer today set out a package of reforms to the audio-visual tax reliefs. This announcement follows HM Treasury’s consultation on changes to the tax reliefs relating to film, high-end TV, animation, children’s television and video games published in November.

The British Film Commission welcomes the package of measures, which clearly demonstrates Government’s recognition of and commitment to the continued growth and success of the UK’s film and HETV sector.

The central proposition is a decision to move all five reliefs to a refundable expenditure credit model, which will also allow UK tax reliefs to comply with global tax legislation set to come into force in the coming years. Please find below a summary of the reforms announced today.


Summary of reforms to the audio-visual tax reliefs:

  • Reforming the audio-visual tax reliefs to expenditure credits: the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit will cover the current film and TV tax reliefs
  • The specific criteria for each of the current film and TV reliefs will be preserved in the Audio Visual Expenditure Credit
  • Under the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit, film and high-end TV will be eligible for a credit rate of 34%. This is slightly higher than the equivalent credit relief under the current regime, which would have equated to 33.33%
  • Children’s TV and animation will be eligible for a higher credit rate of 39%, an increase when compared to the current regime
  • The £1 million per hour expenditure credit threshold for high-end TV will remain unchanged
  • The minimum slot length for high-end TV will be reduced to 20 minutes, applied on an episode-by-episode basis
  • The Government will put a definition of a documentary into legislation. This will be based on the BFI's definition
  • The Government will consider the case for targeted support for Visual Effects, and will provide an update on this later in the year


Additional detail:

  • The expenditure credits will be available to claim from 1 January 2024. However, to give companies time to adjust, there will be a generous transition period:
  • Film and TV programmes that have not concluded principal photography on 1 April 2025 may continue to claim the existing tax reliefs until April 2027, at which point the existing reliefs will sunset.


Commenting on yesterday’s announcement, Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission, said:

“Today’s announcement is a real recognition from the Government of the growth and opportunity our UK Film and high-end TV industry presents. The UK’s tax reliefs have directly influenced many productions’ decisions to base themselves in the UK, contributing billions of pounds to the economy and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK’s nations and regions. With increasingly intense international competition, we’re delighted to welcome this package of measures, future-proofing the UK’s film, High-end TV and animation tax credits and our position as a leading global production hub.”

“While much of the detail is yet to be worked through, today’s announcement demonstrates a strong commitment from Government to continuing to support the growth of our film and TV sector, creating jobs and opportunities in all four UK nations and region for years to come”.

The Government has committed to work with industry and provide substantial guidance and education about how the expenditure credits will operate to support the transition.

Further details on all reforms can be found in the Government’s summary of responses online here

The British Film Commission team will continue to work through the detail supporting yesterday’s package of reforms, and to liaise with you and with Government ahead of publication of the draft legislation in the summer.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your usual British Film Commission contact for further information.