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HMRC internal manual

Animation Production Company Manual

Overview and general definitions: meaning of television programme

S1216AA, S1216BA Corporation Tax Act 2009 (CTA 2009)

A qualifying animation must be a ‘television programme’ and not be an excluded programme.

The term ‘animation’ is not itself defined within the legislation. It is therefore given its common meaning.

Animation will include various techniques which include, but are not limited to:

  • hand-drawn illustrations
  • stop-motion or computer generated images rendered in 2D or 3D
  • using photography to generate individual frames as in stop motion

These techniques may be used in conjunction with non-animation cinematographic techniques. If this is the case, the programme will be treated as an animation if 51% of the total core expenditure on the completed programme is spent on animation (S1216AC(3) CTA 2009). See APC40050 for more details.

The relevance on being deemed to be an animation may be important. Animations do not need to meet the criteria in S1216AB(5),(6) that are set out for other television programmes as to:

  • slot length, and
  • core expenditure per hour of slot length.

Television programme

A television programme is defined as:

‘…any programme (with or without sounds) which -

    1. is produced to be seen on television, and
      1. consists of moving or still images or of legible text or of a combination of those things’

For the purposes of the definition of a television programme, ‘television’ includes the internet.

A series of television programmes is regarded as a single programme provided it is commissioned under a single agreement. This means that one deemed trade is required for each agreement, even if it covers a number of episodes.

Excluded programmes

The legislation requires that an animation is not an excluded programme. These are listed in the legislation (S1216AD CTA 2009) as:

  • advertisements or other promotional material
  • news or current affairs programmes or discussion programmes
  • any quiz show, game show, panel show, variety show, chat show or similar entertainment
  • a programme that consists of or includes a competition or contest or announces the results of a competition or contest
  • any broadcast of live events or of theatrical or artistic performance given otherwise than for the purpose of being filmed
  • any programme produced for training purposes