The cultural test for film

Qualify for tax relief through the cultural test for film.

The secondary legislation for the revised film cultural test came into force as of 29 January 2015. Companies whose films are certified under the revised test can 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

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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 completed 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 or call Anna Mansi, BFI, Head of Certification, on +44 (0)20 7173 3214

The cultural test for film and some elements of the tax relief for film have been revised. Applications can be submitted under the old guidelines or revised draft guidelines below. The changes that have been made to the cultural 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 now available at 25% of qualifying film production expenditure, regardless of budget.
  • 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

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).

Summary of points – cultural test for film

Applying for British Film Certification

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.

Application forms

To make an application under the revised cultural test, please proceed to the application form below:

Revised cultural test for film application form

To make an application under the old cultural test, please proceed to the application form below:

Old cultural test for film application form

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.

Your account

To access in-progress and submitted applications, you can log in to your account by clicking on the link below:

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 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 (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 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 (that have not submitted online) 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

Here is a list of films which have been certified as British:

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  • Co-production

    Qualify for tax relief as an official co-production for film, high-end television, animation and children’s television programme.

Read more

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