Film investment scheme in the spotlight

Inland Revenue challenges Ingenious Media.

by Jennie Kermode

They've helped to finance films like Avatar, Shaun Of The Dead and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but now Ingenious Media are facing scrutiny from the Inland Revenue, which contends that they have also helped investors to avoid tax. According to the Financial Times, big name figures including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bob Geldof and David Beckham could stand to lose if the company is found to be at fault.

Previous investigations into film funding by the Treasury have found that some schemes are designed to make a loss which investors can the offset against gains elsewhere, enabling them to minimise the tax they pay on large incomes. Ingenious Films contends that this is a clearly not the case for its schemes because several of its films have been highly successful and it has generated around £600M of taxable income so far, making an overall loss only in its first year of trading. The investigation is likely to hinge on how profits and losses are distributed across the several schemes the company runs. It has contribued to financing around 100 films overall.

Ingenious recently launched a partnership with the National Film and Television School. It is currently expanding to offer investment schemes in the sport business and energy industry.

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