Investing In British Film With EIS Tax Breaks

Kenneth Branagh as Henry V

Investing in films can be risky, but Stephen Evans, understands the risks better than most people How many people can you name who have 'stockbroker' and 'BAFTA Award Winner' on their resume?

Mr Evans made his first investment in film in the late eighties, when he backed Kenneth Branagh to make Shakespeare's Henry V. His latest project is a film about footballer George Best.

Many investors were scared off investing in film by the protracted battle between  HM Revenue and Customs and Ingenious Media, backers of Shaun of the Dead and a few projects you won't have heard of. The case ended up in the Supreme Court with both sides claiming victory, but the allegations that film production was being used as a front for tax avoidance put off a lot of people who might have enjoyed a walk down the red carpet.

Because we believe in the nitty-gritty of investment as well as the magic of the movies, and because we know that some businesses have to make profits, otherwise the possibly-questionable losses cannot be offset against them, we're interested to read Stephen Evans' article in Spears magazine 

He is positive about the use of the Enterprise and Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS and SEIS) and his advise is aimed at UK taxpayers who qualify for relief under those schemes. 

Yes, he says, understand the worst case scenario: according to his figures, if the film fails totally, your loss after tax credits is 38 per cent. But on the upside "the tax-free profits can be up to 300 per cent. See your accountant."

He also offers a film-maker's advice for working whether the film is likely to make a return for investors. Have  actors been cast that people might want to see in those roles?. Do the have a track record? Have they returned profits to investors on previous films? And behind the scenes, has the project engaged lawyers and accountants who are well respected within the British film industry?

We recommend your read the Spears article if you feel tempted to invest in movies.  Don't get carried away; your capital is at risk. Or you can enjoy the interview below, in which sportscaster Richard Keys interviews Stephen Evans about his current project, George Best The Movie.