A children’s television programme is basically a package which primarily focuses on the audience under the age of 15. These shows could also craft either in form of game, quiz or infotainment and hence may qualify for the relief if the total price does not exceed £1,000. Children’s Television Tax Relief is thus an emerging and extended category within the Creative Industry Tax Reliefs. CTR is upgraded second version of high-end television and animation tax relief, particularly for the production houses who works for children’s television programmes, however all the programmes commissioned together are considered as one while considering for the relief. Nevertheless, CTR aims to encourage the production of Children’s television programmes targeting to British Culture specifically in the UK, yet setting up further amendments in the taxation system since past few years.
It is also to be noted that CTR is not subject to the £1 million per programme hour onset or a slot of 30 minute length, applies as in length TV programmes. In spite of this, television companies also termed as Public Service Broadcasters, making children’s programmes in UK are eligible to claim 50% of the production cost from the latest sanctioned fund of £60 million this year, announced by the government. Though some set parameters also exists before this claim as per the guidance provided by HMRC. It is also declared by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Support that a significant investment has already been structured to give the world distinguished television production sectors a boost. The programme starts in 2019, with the capitals to be distributed over three years.
Who Can Qualify For The Relief?
The Children’s Television Tax Relief (CTR) was introduced for various categories of children’s television programmes,viz., television shows, animated shows, video games etc., including the web broadcasting in the year 2015. There is no particular limit on the relief tax amount to be claimed with, however all the reliefs are covered at 80% of the total production cost. Just like for Animation Television Relief (ATR), the children’s television programmes too need to pass the cultural test or proclaim self as an official co-production to qualify as British. Following considerations may mark the company eligible to claim for Children’s Television Tax Relief, if:
- Similar to Film Tax Relief, the programme clears the cultural test, within the European Economic Area (EEA).
- The programme is envisioned to broadcast primarily focusing the audience under the age of 15.
- The TV production company particularly works for children based programmes.
- At least 10% of the total production cost involved in the activities within the UK.
- Programmes with quiz, games, competition or similar other contest based, only if the total price does not exceed £1,000.
On the other side, some factors also restrict a programme qualifying for CTR, if:
- The programme is an advertisement for children purpose.
- It is a news, discussion or debate kind,
- It is panel show or assortment show or similar kind of,
- It is broadcasting live performances either for theatrical or artistic,
- It is a training based programme.
Since the CTR is much complex in nature, hence before going for this one must assure to have all the related documents or required verifications and proofs referencing the programme for which the request is to be filed.
The Relief Process
Since the children’s television programmes broadcasts in different categories, yet have different process to go for the CTR. However, there is no set limit for any of these categories. The set values are pronounced in 2014 which came into effect after April1, 2015, qualifying the expenditure incurred. Since all the categories are assessed in four further different segments, viz., Cultural Content (18 points), Cultural Contribution (4 points), Cultural Hubs (5 points) and Cultural Practitioners (8 points), through which the various parameters are verified to make a programme entitled to claim for CTR. All the categories have different criterion through which a programme has to go for:
a. High – End Television (HETV) Tax Relief-
- The programme must qualify as British either by passing the high-end television cultural test or as a registered authorized co-production.
- It must be projected for broadcast purpose; the internet distribution is included also.
- At least 10% of the total production cost must be consumed in UK
- The Children’s Television Production Company (CTPC) should make sure that the programme must need to be lie within the UK Corporation Tax slab.
- The programme is purely dramatic, humorous, informative or documentary.
- Per hour average production cost should not less than £1 million per hour
- The slot must be more than 30 minutes in length
b. Animation Tax Relief
Similar to the first four set criterion mentioned above, the animation creative for children purpose may also need to fulfill some other parameters, however in this category the programme need to be qualify as British by passing the Children’s Television Cultural Test instead of High-end TV test. Further requirements are stated here under:
- At least 51% of the total basic outlay is on live movements.
- The programme must not be one of the disqualified programmes as listed in the guidelines set by HMRC, which is easily available at the official website of HMRC.
- The structured programme must target the audience primarily under the age of 15 years.
c. Video Games Tax Relief
The Video Games too need to fulfill the requirement and so on qualifying UK/EEA production expense either 80% or below of the total expenditure or the core UK/EEA outlay acquired. Further requirements are given below:
- It must qualify as British through the Video Games Cultural Test.
- The video game must be anticipated or created for release.
- The Video Game Development Company is liable to set the video within the UK Corporation Tax Net.
Government too assesses the gross impact of such tax reliefs, whether this affecting the society or a person windingly or staunchly. The Children’s Television Tax Relief has a wide ranged impact grasping the entire dimension with socio economic aspects:
- Economic Impact has a measure on the television industry focusing children’s programs, however not having much macroeconomic effect.
- Since the CTR only works for the companies qualifying for the children’s programmes hence have not much impact on the families specifically.
- Equalities Impact is carefully assessed by the government, whether it affect the social or personal life of any. The government is then finding that there is no such impact.
- The tax relief for children television production allows qualifying companies to claim the relief particularly working for children’s programming sector. However, only 20-25 companies can apply for the relief at once dealing in the same sector. Since, this relief is not associated with any other business aspects hence does not have much Business Impact or on other organizations.
- The estimated annual cost to HM Revenue and Customs of governing such new tax reliefs is completely considered as negligible. Hence have no impact on the economic structure of UK in terms of revenue generation.
- Considering other small and micro business, the CTR is unlikely to have any effect on such establishment as it is completely unlinked to them. However, the relief is precisely targeted at the specific sector, hence assuredly won’t have any impact sensing either fear or competition.
The Critics of Tax Relief
Though UK has promoted the children’s programmes via animation, videos or other sources, assuming to provide a better exposure to children along with to set up and promote the broadcasting industry within the UK, yet somehow it has set few opponents in its progression.
Firstly, it is assumed by many that neither of these programs is going to fade into some democratic bliss, as none of these will aid the damage made by its former. Hence, many consider cutting such unspoken burden.
Second, for parent this is not a tax relief at all. It is however, considered as an extra levy charged by the government.
Third, says that the existing child acclaim has not a significant impact on strengthen families. Social environment has not yet changed thus can be said that this relief has no impact on the social life.
Fourth reason states that the children acknowledgement has not any involvement in raising the economic growth, however all the said segments could also be merged with the general TV, animation or other.
The Children Television Tax Relief undoubtedly has a crucial assessment yet the significant one. Thus it is much important for the applicants to make sure that all the set parameters and requirements must be fulfilled at par. The CTR mainly aims to encourage the production of culturally British children’s television programmes in the UK, hence need to be processed carefully and authentically. To make the procedure much convenient, a list of production houses is also published on the website that successfully passed the assessment require claiming CTR, instancing the way and other essentials to be kept with while processing for the assessment, required to claim for Children’s Television Tax Relief accurately.