The cultural test for high-end television

Qualify for tax relief through the cultural test for high-end television.

High-end television can qualify as British in one of two ways. It must meet the requirements of one of the following:

  • The cultural test for high-end television.
  • One of the UK’s official bilateral co-production agreements that allow television co-production.

Changes to the cultural test for high-end television programmes

The Chancellor in the Budget 2015 announced that amendments would be made to the current cultural test for high-end television programmes, as introduced in April 2013. This test is the gateway to the high-end television tax relief. The draft policy of the current Government is to amend the existing cultural test by awarding an additional two points in Section A4 (Original Dialogue) and an additional two points in Section C1 (Cultural Hubs). This changes the total number of points available from 31 to 35, with the qualification threshold rising from 16 to 18. For any of these changes to take effect, they will need to be implemented through regulations amending the existing Cultural Test (Television Programmes) Regulations 2013. Until the future Government is in place and regulations are in place the current high-end television cultural test continues to operate as normal and interested parties should continue to refer to the existing regulations and guidance. Here is more information on the draft 35 point test:

To apply under the draft revised cultural test please see the application form section below.

The cultural test for high-end television

Qualifying your high-end television programme as British under the cultural test is the gateway to accessing the UK high-end television programme tax relief.

To apply for the cultural test for high-end television, there must be one television production company (TPC) that is registered with Companies House and within the UK corporation tax net. The TPC must be set up before principal photography begins and have responsibility for all aspects of the programme-making process from pre-production through to delivery.

The cultural test for high-end television is a points-based test where the project needs 16 of a possible 31 points to pass. It comprises four sections:

Applying for British high-end television certification

Applicants can apply for interim certification at any point before or during production. Interim certification is essential if you wish to claim high-end television tax relief during production.

A final application must be submitted once the programme is complete and ready to be broadcast to the general public. The online application form below can be used for interim and final certification.


Please read the guidance notes which will help you complete your application.

Application form

To submit an application, please proceed to the application forms below:

For the existing cultural test 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).

Please note you will not be required to submit a hard copy statutory declared application for the revised test until the legislation procedures are complete later in the year. However, it is still required if you are applying under the existing test.

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.

Your account

If you have already started your application, you can continue by signing in with your existing account details:

Supporting documents

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 Television 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 scripts in the English language – the most up-to-date copy.
  • Series bible.
  • A complete synopsis (if not included in the series bible).
  • Shooting/Production 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)].

We will be happy to discuss your application in person or via phone or email. Telephone Anna Mansi, BFI, Head of Certification, on +44 (0)20 7173 3214 or email

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