High-end Television Tax Relief (HTR) is available for TV programmes in UK which either pass the cultural test or qualify as official co-productions.

Programmes should be documentaries, dramas or comedies and there must be an intention to broadcast them. Qualifying companies can claim a high-end TV television tax incentive of up to 25% if their applications are successful.

Who can claim high-end television tax relief?

All applications for high-end TV tax breaks need to meet the cultural test requirements or comply with an official UK bi-lateral co-production agreement for television. There cannot be any application for UK high-end TV programme tax relief before acceptance of the programme being British. The principal television production company making application for high-end tax relief needs to be set up prior to the date that the main photography.

The cultural test is points-based. Programmes need to achieve a minimum of 18 points from the maximum of 35. Points are accrued as follows:

  • 18 points for cultural content
  • 4 points for cultural contribution
  • 5 points if cultural hubs are included
  • 8 points for the inclusion of cultural practitioners

Production companies need to meet the following qualifications for claiming the high-end TV tax break:

  • programmes should have a minimum of £1m per broadcast hour core expenditure
  • either pass the cultural test or qualify by way of being an official co-production
  • intended for broadcast, which includes internet broadcast
  • attain a minimum UK spend of at least 10%
  • tax relief is available on the qualifying UK spend, at 80% of the total UK core spend that is incurred, or the actual core UK spend, whichever is the lowest
  • no cap is placed on amounts that can be claimed
  • the company making the broadcast must fall within the umbrella of UK corporation tax

The high-end TV cultural test requires that all TV production companies should be within the UK corporation tax net, and responsible for all

  • pre-production,
  • principal photography requirements,
  • post-production works, and
  • the completion of the TV project.

How to apply

You can access an application form for the high-end TV cultural test on the website of the British Film Institute. Applications can be made online.  A hard copy declaration will also need to be completed. It takes up to five weeks for the British Film Institute to process applications and liaise with the relevant government department.

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