The amount of moneyavailable to producers from the new tax credit scheme announced by the UKgovernment is a 'moveable feast', delegates heard at Screen International's UKFilm Finance Summit.
Panellists sitting on adebate about the 'Son of Section 48' said that the benefits could be anythingfrom 10% to 20% of a film's budget. Theexact percentage, however, would depend on how the financing of a film wasstructured and on the final nature of the tax scheme, the details of which arecurrently being hammered out by the UK Treasury in consultation with the filmindustry.
"We can't actually say howmuch it [the benefit to producers] is going to be," said Jonathan Berger,partner at law firm Salans. "It's a moveable feast."
In fact, it quickly becameclear during the session that the government's proposals for a new tax supporthave left has many questions as answers. (For a full analysis of the new taxcredit scheme, see this week's special feature in Screen International magazine.)
"There's going to be a periodof flux as people try to work out how it works and what it will involve," saidBerger. I don't think there will be absolute certainty until there has been aperiod of experimentation."
Meanwhile, Paul Candler,head of film at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, stressed that thegovernment saw the tax credit as "a new start" for the film industry and thatit had four specific objectives - to support UK production; to be costeffective; to avoid avoidance; and to be properly evaluated.
He added there was "nosecret deal to decide how it [the tax credit] works" and that there will be areal process of consultation to find out what the industry wants. "The issue ofthe detail of how we get it to 20% is what we are trying to work out."
Candler stressed that thegovernment remained a strong supporter of film. "February 10 [the date thegovernment clamped down on production funds] was more in sorrow than in anger,"he said. "The fact that the government has restated its support of film in theform of a tax relief is something to be remarked upon."