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HMRC internal manual

Film Production Company Manual

Film Tax Relief: Eligible Expenditure: Attributing costs across the stages of film-making


Specific activities within each of the four stages of film-making do not always take place in a strictly sequential way, and a given item of expenditure may be attributable, in some degree, to several stages.

For example:


  • the screenplay will normally be written during development. It may well continue to be reworked throughout the production, but regardless of this, it is normally used in development, pre-production (since the production is planned around it), principal photography (when the actual filming takes place) and post-production.
  • a production designer might be engaged as part of development, pre-production or principal photography.
  • an actor could be involved in re-recording dialogue during post-production as well as performing during principal photography and rehearsing during pre-production.

In each case it would be reasonable for the respective cost to be apportioned across the relevant stages of film-making.

Of the four separate stages of film-making specified by FA06 (see above), for the purpose of FTR, the most crucial distinction is between development (which does not attract FTR) and pre-production (which does). This distinction is covered in further detail at FPC50030).

For more general guidance on the attribution of costs across various activities or territories see FPC50070 – FPC50115).