James Bond filmmakers obtain hundreds of thousands in UK tax credit, report finds


From Miss Moneypenny to Q, James Bond has lengthy relied upon a sequence of presidency officers. Now it has emerged that Her Majesty’s most well-known undercover agent has additionally loved the help of one other British civil servant: the taxman.

A brand new report by the investigative thinktank, TaxWatch, suggests EON Productions, the London-based studio that makes the James Bond movies, makes little or no revenue within the UK however has obtained tens of hundreds of thousands of kilos in tax credit.

Publicly obtainable accounts reveal that Spectre, which got here out in 2015, obtained £30m in tax credit, whereas the newest movie, No Time To Die, whose launch has been put again till subsequent yr due to the worldwide pandemic, was handed £47m.

The whole quantity of UK tax credit EON obtained for the reason that credit have been launched in 2007 is prone to be nearer to the £120m mark. Leaked emails revealed that 2012’s Skyfall obtained £24m in tax credit, whereas TaxWatch calculates that Quantum of Solace (2008) would have obtained round £21m.

The postponement of No Time To Die – the 25th 007 blockbuster – was cited by the Cineworld chain as the key motive it not too long ago determined to quickly shut its UK cinemas.

“With cinemas and theatres across the nation closing, and cultural sector employees dealing with actual hardship, you need to wonder if handing over tens of hundreds of thousands of kilos to such a worthwhile franchise is one of the best use of public cash,” mentioned George Turner, director of TaxWatch.

For a movie to obtain tax credit it have to be licensed as “culturally British” by the British Movie Institute.

However, then, few manufacturers are as British because the 007 franchise which has generated some $16bn in revenues because it started. Daniel Craig memorably featured alongside the Queen within the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

Whereas many elements of the movies are shot overseas, manufacturing is centred at Pinewood Studios, close to London. Enhancing and post-production work on Spectre was cut up between Pinewood and Soho in central London.

Cineworld in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, with a poster of No Time to Die.
Cineworld in Stevenage, Hertfordshire: the corporate cited the delayed launch of No Time to Die as a significant motive for its resolution to quickly shut its cinemas earlier this month. {Photograph}: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

EON doesn’t fund the Bond movies, takes no monetary danger, and has by no means held any rights to make the movies since producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R “Cubby” Broccoli acquired the rights to Ian Fleming’s Bond novels and established the corporate in 1961. The next yr, Broccoli and Saltzman’s wives, Dana and Jacqueline, created an organization referred to as Danjaq – an elision of their names – integrated in Switzerland.

Underneath the construction arrange by the 2 males, EON would make the movies within the UK and promote them to Danjaq. Within the Nineties, Danjaq was integrated in Delaware.

Bond’s political masters would favor the spy was very a lot an completely British asset. In February 2016, Tory MP Mark Spencer mentioned tax on the income from the Bond motion pictures “ought to be paid on this nation, not all around the world”. Danjaq mentioned in an announcement: “All of the earnings from the James Bond movies obtained by EON and Danjaq is topic to tax in both the UK or the USA. Not one of the earnings is sheltered in a tax haven.”

EON states in its 2015 accounts that after the manufacturing of a movie has been accomplished, “the movie is offered for a value equal to the full price of manufacturing much less the quantity obtained in respect of UK Movie Tax Credit”.

Such an association is authorized and customary within the movie business. TaxWatch suggests it signifies that little revenue will likely be made within the UK – lowering the tax legal responsibility that can accrue. How a lot tax Bond pays overseas is unclear because of the construction of the franchise’s funds.

However it’s clear that it’s massively worthwhile. In 2014, leaked emails, believed to have been obtained by North Korean brokers who hacked Sony Footage Leisure, revealed that Skyfall, which grossed $1.1bn worldwide, made $232m in revenue for distributors MGM and Sony. Danjaq earned $109m.

Spectre grossed $880m worldwide, excluding revenues generated from DVD and VOD gross sales.

Danjaq mentioned: “Because the Nineteen Sixties Danjaq has chosen to make the James Bond movies within the UK via EON Productions, ensuing within the funding of greater than a billion {dollars} within the UK movie business, the employment of tens of hundreds of individuals, and showcasing the abilities of British individuals to the world.

“EON has utilised the tax credit to assist fund the making of Bond movies within the method meant by the federal government. This has enabled the Bond movies to be continued to be made within the UK to the good thing about the UK movie business.”

“Each firm in receipt of subsidy argues that the general public cash they obtain is important to maintain jobs within the UK,” TaxWatch’s Turner mentioned.

“The truth is that Bond has been produced within the UK for many years and a few years earlier than the movie tax credit score system was launched. Is it actually credible that Commander Bond would defect to the CIA?”

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