News story

American television series to film in Scotland thanks to TV tax breaks

Government tax reliefs attract original American TV series to film in Scotland and build new Scottish TV studio.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Scottish highlands

An American television production will make use of the government’s new tax breaks for high-end television within months.

Starz, a major cable network in the US, and the global television studio, Sony Pictures Television, have chosen Scotland as the location for their new original series ‘Outlander’, adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling series of seven books, which tell the story of Claire and James Fraser, using time travel to slip between 18th and 20th Century Scotland.

The series will be written and executive produced by Ronal D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Jim Kohlberg, and the lead role will be played by Sam Heughan, a Scottish born and trained actor.

It will be produced by Left Bank Pictures, Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining and Supply Company, in association with Sony Pictures Television.

The series will be set in Scotland and the production company will build a new television studio and production base near Glasgow, leaving a studio legacy in the area when filming of Outlander ends. It is estimated that the series will employ around 200 local crew, and an estimated 2,400 supporting artist roles cast from within the UK and Scotland.

The government announced in 2012 that film tax reliefs would be extended to high-end television industries, animation and, subject to State Aid approval, video games. Tax relief for film has supported over 1,100 film productions from 2007 to 2012.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:

I am delighted that Outlander will be filmed in Scotland, and welcome the extra investment that will be made to the Scottish television industry. I hope that this series will make the most of the stunning landscape and the talented actors, crew and facilities that Scotland has to offer.

This is an exciting development for television in Scotland and shows the clear benefit of the UK’s high end TV tax credits. We want Britain to be the best place in the world to make films and TV.

The high-end television tax relief allows eligible companies engaged in the production of qualifying high-end television productions to claim an additional deduction in computing their taxable profits, and where that additional deduction results in a loss, to surrender those losses for a payable tax credit.

Both the additional deduction and the payable credit are calculated on the basis of UK core expenditure up to a maximum of 80 per cent of the total core expenditure by the qualifying company. The additional deduction is 100 per cent of qualifying core expenditure and the payable tax credit is 25 per cent of losses surrendered.

Productions must be certified by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as culturally British in order to be eligible for relief.

Photo by Taraji Blue on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

Published 19 July 2013