On 30 September 2015 HMRC published their long-awaited manual on theatre tax relief ("TTR"). The Finance Act 2014 introduced a new regime for the taxation of theatrical production companies and from September last year, theatre tax relief was made available in respect of qualifying theatrical productions.
HMRC's manual provides additional guidance to interpret these legislative provisions. In outline, the manual discusses the conditions to be satisfied in order to qualify for TTR by clarifying that the commercial purpose condition will be met if at least 75% of the proposed live performances are intended to be provided to paying members of the public or for educational purposes.
In terms of the meaning of 'theatrical production company', the manual outlines that TTR is available to theatre production companies conducting a separate theatrical trade and that there can only be one company for each relevant theatrical production. The company must be responsible for producing, running and closing the production, and if any of these aspects are subcontracted, the company must retain overall responsibility for those activities and have an active involvement in order to qualify.
It is equally important to note that a theatre production company entitled to TTR can claim an additional deduction in computing its taxable profits relating to a separate theatrical trade. Strictly speaking, only expenditure incurred after 1 September 2014 will be eligible for the additional deduction. However, HMRC has allowed a concession, where expenditure incurred before this date can be included in the calculation of the additional deduction provided the goods or services for which that expenditure was incurred were not used or provided before this date.
The manual also summarises how the profits and losses of a theatrical production company are calculated and how a claim for TTR can be made.
Comments on the manual are invited and can be emailed to HMRC at: Des Ryan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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