The leading audio production trade group in the UK is petitioning the government to give tax relief to podcast production houses, following precedents in the movie, animation, children’s TV, videogames, theater, museum exhibition, and orchestra businesses. The idea is to reduce corporate taxes applied to podcast and audiobook production that meets certain criteria.
The main rationales of the Audio Production Tax Relief proposal are to reduce costs, enabling the podcast industry to grow more quickly, and to attract more international attention to the UK as a global audio leader.
“Our members are beginning to see the benefits of the growth in podcasts and audiobooks,” said Kellie While, Chair of AudioUK, “as entrepreneurs they’re looking to grow their businesses using their long-established expertise in audio production. But it won’t be long before other nations begin to develop their own capacity in podcasting and we are already seeing one or two examples of other governments’ support for this. So now is a crucial time to introduce this tax relief to make sure our creative economy can take full advantage of the growing international investment.”
The tax relief would relate to the UK’s corporation tax, and eligible companies would need to qualify according to a list of eligibility requirements listed in the document. They include company registration in the Companies House and are subject to the corporation tax. Relief could apply to a particular production or series of productions. The company could be an “off-the-shelf” subsidiary of a larger company. The proposal acknowledges freelance workforces, and that cost is included in eligibility.
One proponent, Andrew Mark Sewell, managing Director of B7 Media, connects the tax relief proposal to changes in BBC content strategy: “With consumption of podcast audio drama increasing at the same time as a year-on-year reduction in commissioned hours by BBC Radio Drama, competition from international producers (Audible, Spotify), means UK indie producers are now turning to private investment to help them develop, sustain and future proof their audio production businesses. Like other creative industries such as animation, video games, television and film, the introduction of tax relief would be significant in helping to encourage domestic and international co-production investment.”