The secondary legislation for the revised film cultural test has now come into force (as of 29 January 2015) and we can now begin issuing certificates. Companies can now use their certificates to submit a tax relief claim to HMRC on UK expenditure back-dated to the 1 April 2014.
We will still be running both the old and revised film cultural tests for the time being
- The cultural test for film
- Applying for British Film Certification
- Application forms
- Your account
- Supporting documents
- Films certified as British through the cultural test for film
Which application to use:
- New applicants who began principal photography from the 1 April 2014 onwards should apply under the revised film cultural test.
- If your film began principal photography before 1 April 2014 you should apply under the old test. If you have received an interim certificate under the old test and have now completed your film, you will need to apply for final certification and you must use the old film cultural test.
If you are unsure which test to apply under please do contact the Certification Unit at email@example.com or call Anna Mansi, BFI, Head of Certification, on +44 (0)20 7173 3214
Following European Commission state aid approval, the cultural test for film and some elements of the tax relief for film have been revised. Applications can be submitted under the existing guidelines or revised draft guidelines below. The changes that have been made to the culture test are:
- The cultural test has been modernised to allow for European content. This is in line with the other creative content tax reliefs.
- The pass mark is 18 points, now out of a possible 35 points.
- There is an increase in the points available for principal photography/ special effects/ visual effects and English/EEA language.
- Film Tax Relief is available at 25% on the first £20 million of qualifying production expenditure and 20% thereafter for all films.
- The minimum UK expenditure requirement has been reduced from 25% to 10%.
Films can qualify as British in one of three ways. They must meet the requirements of one of the following:
- The cultural test for film
- One of the UK’s official bilateral co-production agreements
- The European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production
Qualifying your film as British under the cultural test for film is the gateway to accessing the UK film tax relief and is one of the criteria to apply to the BFI Film Fund.
To apply for the cultural test, there must be one film production company (FPC) that is registered with Companies House and within the UK corporation tax net. The FPC must be set up before principal photography begins and have responsibility for all aspects of the filmmaking process from pre-production through to delivery.
The cultural test is a points-based test where, under the revised guidelines, the project will need to achieve 18 of a possible 35 points to pass. It comprises of four sections:
- Cultural content (up to 18 points).
- Cultural contribution (up to 4 points).
- Cultural hubs (up to 5 points).
- Cultural practitioners (up to 8 points).
Applicants can apply for interim certification at any point before or during production. Interim certification is essential if you wish to claim film tax relief during production.
A final application must be submitted once the film is complete and ready to be viewed by an audience. The application form below can be used for interim and final certification.
Please read the guidance notes which will help you complete your application.
To make an application under the revised cultural test, please proceed to the application form below:
To make an application under the old cultural test, please proceed to the application form below:
A hard copy statutory declaration must be completed in conjunction with a printed copy of your online application form (please see the Supporting documents section below for further information).
You will be asked to set up an account before completing the application form.
If you are applying for Interim Certification online, your account will allow us to pre-populate your responses into the Final Certification application form. When you are ready to apply for Final Certification, you will be able to review and amend your answers which we hope will facilitate swift completion of the form and provide an enhanced applicant experience for you.
To access in-progress and submitted applications, you can log in to your account by clicking on the link below:
A printed copy of your application form must be sent to us along with a hard copy Statutory Declaration which must be completed in respect of this application form with every section completed, even if some sections are marked N/A.
Where an individual in a position other than the director or secretary of the Film Production Company has signed the Statutory Declaration the company director or company secretary will need to let us know in writing that they have been authorised to do so. This can be sent via email.
The BFI requires additional supporting material to complete its assessment of your application. The following documents are requested and can be attached to your online application form:
- Shooting script in the English language - the most up-to-date copy.
- A complete synopsis or treatment of the screenplay (in English) – The most up-to-date copy.
- Shooting Schedule – the most up-to-date information.
- Production budget/final cost report – the most up-to-date copy of the total long-form budget.
- A copy of the chain of title – the most up-to-date [if applying for points under section A3(b)].
If you are applying for Final Certification we will also require a physical DVD copy of the finished project and a hard copy of the accountant’s report if you are applying for points in sections C and D.
The application form with the Statutory Declaration and any supporting documents must be sent to:
The Certification Unit
British Film Institute
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN
We will be happy to discuss your application in person or via phone or email. We can be contacted at:
Anna Mansi, BFI, Head of Certification, on +44 (0)20 7173 3214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a list of films which have been certified as British: