Highlighting the controversial clamp down in UK tax regulations this year, the High Court has upheld a decision by the Government to reject applications from the Peakviewing group of companies.
The Department for Culture, Media & Sport said that the film and TV concern had been producing "thousands of five minute adverts for pubs, clubs and hotels" in the UK and overseas which it aimed to certify as British films.
The High Court ruled that the culture department is not bound to issue a certificate qualifying films as British - one of the criteria for accessing the 100% tax write-offs under Section 48 - until it is satisfied that the claimed expenditure is genuine.
"They have not provided adequate information on their expenditure," said a spokesperson. Peakviewing said it will appeal the decision.
In April chancellor Gordon Brown removed a loophole that allowed non-theatrical films to access the tax breaks, which were originally designed to boost film production. He also stamped out the practice of inflated deferrals, whereby some companies claimed relief worth three times the real budget of a film. But the move triggered uproar in the TV sector, where many argue that it unfairly hits what should be legitimate productions such as high-end drama.
This week, Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of Pinewood and Shepperton Studios, told Screendaily that the move had been "a body blow" for studios aiming to attract large scale US productions such Dinotopia and Band of Brothers. "The industry has relied on these productions as a source of revenue," he said. "Something like Band of Brothers is as big as any of the biggest blockbusters in film terms."