Film tax enquiries

Many firms offering tax investigation support services will include services relating to film tax matters. Film tax is, however, unlike any other tax investigation matter as it is a highly specialist area. In fact, HMRC considers it to be an area of sufficient complexity and risk to merit the setting up of a stand-alone and specialist Film Tax team to handle issues involving statutory reliefs for investment in film. Where tax issues arise where specific statutory reliefs relating to film have not been claimed, enquiries into such matters fall within the remit of HMRC’s ‘Specialist Investigations’ Offices. 

Faced with a film tax enquiry by HMRC’s senior investigation specialists, whether from the Film Tax team or from within one of HMRC’s Specialist Investigations Offices, it is important to ensure that the depth of HMRC’s expertise in film tax disputes is matched by the depth of your adviser’s corresponding expertise.

The Team at A&A has a considerable amount of experience in dealing with HMRC in relation to tax disputes concerning the exploitation of film rights or the provision of film-related services, having acted for and continuing to act for many partnerships, limited liability partnerships, companies and individuals who have engaged in such activities and who have subsequently found themselves subject to an HMRC enquiry.

Investment in film frequently involves complex arrangements and voluminous legal documentation. The arrangements can often be extremely difficult to understand with a sufficient degree of sophistication to be able to deal effectively with any subsequent HMRC enquiry, along with any necessary negotiations or litigation. Fortunately for our clients, the Team at A&A has been handling film related tax disputes for many years, giving us a level of expertise and experience in this area which we believe to be unrivalled by any other firm.

Over the last eight or nine years, members of our Team have successfully negotiated the resolution of a substantial number of film tax enquiries, the vast majority of such settlements have resulted in the partners receiving or retaining at least 90% of the disputed tax reliefs. We are in touch with senior personnel in HMRC’s Film Tax and Specialist Investigations offices and with HMRC’s Solicitor’s Office on an almost daily basis, representing the interests of our clients in negotiations and, where necessary, in litigation.

Despite our exceptional track record in negotiating settlements with HMRC, litigation is sometimes unavoidable. We have close relationships with leading counsel, our Team having acted as litigation consultant to a number of partnerships, including two whose appeals resulted in landmark decisions in favour of the taxpayers at the Court of Appeal (Micro Fusion 2004-1 v HMRC, Halcyon v HMRC). We continue to act as litigation consultant to a number of partnerships whose appeals are currently progressing through the Courts.

In our view, there are very few advisers who have the requisite depth of expertise to be able to handle an HMRC investigation in this specialist area most effectively. The Team at A&A has specialised in handling such investigations for many years, and we believe are uniquely placed to do so. 

If you would like to discuss how we might be able to help, please call us on 020 3780 0810, or email us at Alternatively, please contact one of the senior members of our Team direct.