The cultural test for children’s television programmes

Qualify for tax relief through the cultural test for children’s television programmes.

A children’s television programme is defined to mean a programme which, at the point when television production activities begin, it is reasonable to expect that the persons who will make up the programme’s primary audience will be under the age of 15. Children’s television programmes which are game or quiz shows will also qualify for relief if the prize total does not exceed £1,000.

Children’s television programmes can qualify as British in one of two ways. They must meet the requirements of one of the following:

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

The cultural test for children’s television programmes

Qualifying your children’s television programme as British under the cultural test for children’s television is the gateway to accessing the UK children’s television programme tax relief.

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

The cultural test for children’s television programmes is a points-based test where the project needs 18 of a possible 35 points to pass. It comprises 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)

Summary of points – cultural test for children’s television programmes

Applying for British children’s television programme certification

Applicants can apply for interim certification at any point before or during production. Interim certification is essential if you wish to claim children’s 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.

Guidelines

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

Application form

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

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 hardcopy of your full application with a completed statutory declaration must be sent to us in order for us to begin our assessment.

Where an individual in a position other than the director or secretary of the children’s 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.
  • A complete synopsis, treatment or series bible.
  • Shooting schedule – the most up-to-date information.
  • Production budget (interim)/final cost report (final)– 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 (as few as possible) 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 hardcopy 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. Telephone Anna Mansi, BFI Head of Certification, on +44 (0)20 7173 3214 or email certifications@bfi.org.uk.

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