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HMRC internal manual

Film Production Company Manual

Overview and general definitions: meaning of 'film'


For the purposes of the tax regime for film production introduced by FA06 a film is defined as

‘…any record, however made, of a sequence of visual images that is capable of being used as a means of showing that sequence as a moving image’.

This follows the definition used in the Films Act 1985 which was in place for the previous film tax reliefs (BIM56000).

The definition is not limited to cinema films or, indeed, to films made using traditional film stock or video tape, and in particular includes productions made for television.

Where a film is made by a film production company (FPC) (FPC10100):

  • it is taxed according to the rules set out in FA06/SCH4 (FPC20000) and
  • may also be eligible for Film Tax Relief (FPC40000).

Parts of a series of films treated as a single film

In certain circumstances, separate parts of a series of films are considered as a single film.

This applies where:

  • there are 26 parts or less,
  • the combined playing time is 26 hours or less, and
  • the series itself is
  • a self-contained work, or
  • a series of documentaries with a common theme.

Where these conditions are not met, each part is treated as a separate film and therefore as a separate trade. (See FPC20130 for guidance on films made for television).