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HMRC internal manual

Television Production Company Manual

Taxation: separate trade - television productions

S1216AA Corporation Tax Act 2009

The television tax regime is targeted at Television Production Companies (TPCs) (TPC10110) that are engaged in making television programmes (TPC10100). Television programmes includes programmes shown on the internet.

Television programmes are often commissioned by broadcast companies which agree to buy exclusive time-limited transmission rights within their territory. Following the Communications Act 2003, a UK production company retains the overarching rights to a programme commissioned by a UK public service broadcaster. The production company can exploit the programme outside the boundaries of, or after the expiry of, the exclusivity agreement.

Programmes may be commissioned as individual episodes or as a series. Generally, TPCs will contract for and maintain detailed management accounts for the series. For the purposes of the tax rules, that series will treated as a single programme because it will be contracted for delivery as a self-contained work (TPC20130).

A long-running series will normally be contracted for (or `picked up’) in discrete seasons for commercial reasons. The normal rules will apply to treat each season contract as a separate programme.

Where a programme is performing well, it might be that additional episodes are commissioned part-way through a season or series. If these episodes are commissioned by an extension or amendment to the existing contract, then the production of the additional episodes may be considered as part of the existing trade.

This will be considered on the basis of the facts of each case.