KFTV's Film & TV Finance Magazine - page 20-21

18
 K F T V
g u i d e t o f i l m & t v f i n a n c e
s p o n s o r e d f e a t u r e
High-end TV drama has attracted the most attention, but it’s
also important to note that we are also seeing much more
activity around animation.
Award-winning accountancy firm Sopher + Co has worked with film
and TV companies for 40 years.
Tax credits and
how to claim them
W
hile most of the company’s work
involves providing its clients
with a comprehensive range
of corporation and personal tax services,
it is currently fielding a growing number
of enquiries about how to access the UK’s
attractive film and TV tax credits system.
Martyn Atkinson, head of Audits & Accounts
for Sopher + Co, says: “There’s been a lot of
interest in tax credits since the government
extended the scheme to encompass high-end
television in 2013. But producers need to be
aware of how the system works to benefit.
That’s where Sopher + Co comes in.”
The kind of issues producers need to be
aware of include the fact that they have to be
formally set up as a company in order to claim
tax credits, says Atkinson, “And that company
needs to be doing the majority of the work. So
there can be eligibility issues if more than one
company is involved in the production.”
In order to ensure eligibility, Atkinson’s advice
is “plan well ahead of time. If a producer
comes to us at the earliest opportunity we
can make sure they meet the criteria, as well
as give them an idea of the likely tax credit.
It’s also a good idea to get your legal advisor
involved as soon as possible.”
There’s another crucial advantage in
approaching Sopher + Co early, says Atkinson:
“Tax credits are awarded at the end of the
production process, so you can’t rely on them
as part of your cash flow. At Sopher + Co, we
have good relationships with banks so we
can help producers arrange bank loans by
providing tax credit opinions for proposed
financing.”
Sopher + Co works for both film companies and
a number of the UK’s top 20 indie TV producers,
says Atkinson. However the big surge in
interest around UK tax credits has come from
TV companies thanks to the rule change. In
the first year under the new regulations, the
Treasury gave out £79m in UK tax credits to
high-end television productions, a move that
helped generate just under £400m in production
expenditure. “High-end TV drama has attracted
the most attention,” says Atkinson, “but it’s also
important to note that we are also seeing much
more activity around animation. More recently,
we have also been involved with video games
and theatre tax relief.”
In terms of company profile, Sopher + Co
is small enough to provide a flexible and
friendly service but large enough to have a
great network of contacts, says Atkinson,
“We’re a service-oriented company that
likes to build long-term relationships, rather
than ad hoc project by project partnerships.
Because we’ve been in the business so long
we have good relationships with the banks,
financial institutions, high worth individuals
and HMRC. “So we can play a proactive role
on behalf of our clients.”
Sopher + Co is also well-placed to advise on
issues relating to company strategy: “This
is a very dynamic, fast-changing business,”
says Atkinson. “So in addition to all of the
standard audit, accountancy, payroll and
taxation services you’d expect us to manage,
we offer expert advice on all issues relating
to acquisitions, disposals, raising finance and
financial planning.”
As explained earlier, Sopher + Co likes to
build long-term relationships. For this reason,
there is no charge for an initial consultation:
“Once we have established the amount and
scope of the work the client wants we give
them an indication of our charges. We believe
these strike the right balance between our
commitment to providing the highest quality
of advice and service, and our ambition to
provide value for money.”
For more insights into the Sopher + Co
business, visit the company’s website at
At Sopher + Co, we have good
relationships with banks so
we can help producers arrange
bank loans by providing tax
credit opinions for proposed
financing.
Martyn Atkinson
Head of Audits & Accounts
Sopher + Co
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