Cashing in on subsidies….

RBS accused of taking £1bn in tax benefits linked to the film industry

Research carried out by Bloomberg claims that a number of companies were able to make billions from the use of tax breaks designed to support the UK film industry.

This is an extract from the story (

“Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc conjured up at least 1 billion pounds ($1.45 billion) in tax breaks by investing in controversial financing deals for Harry Potter films and a host of other blockbuster titles that involved no risk to the bank.
The transactions, which RBS has never disclosed, are revealed in hundreds of public filings by at least 25 companies set up by the bank to take part in movie “sale and leaseback” arrangements a decade ago. Those companies are still active and earning income for RBS, though they’ve been shifted to a division that houses unwanted assets for the remaining lifespan of the 15 to 20-year leases.
The filings show that RBS owns rights to the third and fourth Harry Potter films, Troy, Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and at least 20 other movies, though the film titles aren’t always listed in the available paperwork.

From 1998 until around 2007, RBS took advantage of the tax breaks without paying any production costs, or risking losses if the movies bombed. At least 10 of the transactions have been probed by the U.K. tax collection agency, according to company records. Between 2003 and 2006, RBS avoided or delayed paying about 1 billion pounds in tax using the deals, according to calculations based on public filings and historic tax rates.”

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