Negative press due to celebrity tax-avoidance schemes should not put off potential investors into the UK film and TV industry, according to Red Rock Entertainment’s Gary Collins.
The HMRC offers tax benefits for people investing in UK TV and film projects, with minimum individual investments usually starting at around £10,000. These include, amongst others, 30% or 50% tax relief when using The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).
In recent years a number of celebrities, including Gary Barlow and Jimmy Carr, have been accused of abusing such schemes for their own personal gain.
But Collins has urged people to look beyond the “negative press around some schemes being called into question over tax avoidance”.
“Not all investment opportunities should be tarred with the same brush,” he said. “The loopholes some companies took advantage of have been closed and I hope it doesn’t make people shy away from investing in the UK film industry.
“In fact it’s vital that people do, or we won’t be able to maintain the worldwide reputation we have for good quality films and TV shows. That’s why tax breaks were first introduced for investment in UK films, because it’s an industry we should rightly be proud of and support, especially given the number of people it employs.”
Current Red Rock films and shows in production include Dystopia, a time travel sci-fi show set in 2047 which sees the earth left a barren and war-torn planet. Produced by Brit Paul Tanter it stars famous faces including Reservoir Dog’s Michael Madsen, Son’s of Anarchy’s Rich Paul and Emmy award winning actor Peter Woodward.
Collins explains that, when it comes to the film and TV industry, there is “no such thing as a typical investor”.
“Deciding on which film to invest in is often based very much on emotion and personal preference – people want to back the type of film they enjoy watching themselves,” he said.
“We’ve worked with one investor, for example, who would only consider investing in films where a horse were featured. Others have a natural leaning towards comedy or drama. That, often, is the deciding factor above any purely financial consideration.”