The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is nailing down the criteria used to decide which programmes are eligible for the proposed drama tax relief for high-end TV.

The DCMS has been working with stakeholders, including the High End TV Tax Relief Working group, to finalise a definition of what qualifies as a British production or co-production. It is also hunting for input from the wider industry until 29 October.

Points will be awarded for cultural content, cultural contribution, cultural hubs and cultural practitioners, according to the proposed model which is largely based on UK film tax relief.

Productions will have to gain 16 marks out of a maximum of 31 by meeting different criteria within the different areas.

Cultural checklist

Cultural content is the area where producers can potentially gain the most points with 16 points available. Within cultural content, points could be awarded for setting the production in the UK or Europe, the main characters being British or European, the narrative being a British story or the dialogue being in English.

Points for cultural contribution could be awarded based on demonstrating British creativity, heritage and diversity. To be awarded cultural hubs points, use of UK high-end facilities will have to be demonstrated.

Cultural practitioners points will be awarded for using UK and European in key staffing roles, such as director, scriptwriter, producer and casting majority. The area carries the potential of eight points in its current form.

The BFI currently assesses whether UK films pass the cultural test and the DCMS is proposing that it will also oversee the TV test.

Consultation period

The consultation, which also covers the animation and video games industries, opened on the 1 October and will close on 29 October. All the details can be found on the DCMS website.

It follows on from the consultation launched by the Treasury in June after the proposal to introduce corporation tax relief for animation, high-end TV and video games industries was announced in the April budget.

Creative industries minister Ed Vaizey said: “Government is committed to supporting these creative and dynamic sectors by introducing tax reliefs for these industries. The film tax relief has been a huge success and I encourage all those with a vested interest in the animation, high-end television and video games industries to take part in this exercise, and make sure your views are known.”

Chartered accountant Saffery Champness’ head of business development Stephen Bristow said: “The consultation on the cultural test is another step forward along the road to bring in new tax reliefs for the creative sector. The DCMS have done a great job working with the different sectors and produced a really good consultation paper.”

Bristow was co-author of a report which highlighted how much the UK economy could benefit from tax breaks. He was previously at RSM Tenon, but the team he works in was recently acquired by chartered accountants Saffery Champness.

This story was first published by Broadcast.