James Bond, a civil servant (almost) like the others. The TaxWatch think tank has revealed that Her Majesty’s favorite secret agent receives millions of euros in tax credits in the UK, via London-based EON Production. It generates little profit in England, which has not prevented it from amassing 120 million pounds (over 130 million euros) from government coffers since 2007.
As reported by Guardian , the film Spectrum , released in 2015, received £ 30million from the UK tax authorities. Sky Fall (2008) and Quantum of Solace (2012) obtained 24 and 21 million respectively. To die can wait, the last part of the saga, postponed in theaters until next year because of the coronavirus, has meanwhile benefited from 47 million pounds.
“With cinemas and theaters shutting down across the country and workers in the cultural sector facing real hardships, you must ask yourself if handing tens of millions of pounds to such a profitable franchise is the best use of public funds.», Reacted George Turner, director of TaxWatch. For a film to benefit from tax credits, it must be certified “culturally british»By the British Film Institute, specifies the Guardian.
In force since 2007, the Film Tax Relief offers a “20% reduction on 80% of eligible expenditure incurred in the United Kingdom”, explains a report from the European Audiovisual Observatory.
EON Production does not finance its films, it is part of the Danjaq holding company, based in the State of Delaware, in the United States, known for its tax advantages. The company therefore generates little profit in its country of origin, the latter going to the basic investor, Danjaq, who orders the films from it. The feature films are shot abroad and in England, in the Pinewood studios in north-west London, owned by EON. “The film is sold at a price equal to the total cost of production less the amount received for UK film tax creditsDanjaq said in a statement, assuring that income generated by James Bond is subject to UK and US taxes.
From MI6 to the CIA
This type of arrangement is legal, emphasizes the Guardian. TaxWatch believes that it would be profitable if the films, important in the British cultural influence, did not generate much profit. But this is not the case, Sky Fall notably generated 1.1 billion dollars worldwide, bringing in 232 million to distributors (MGMLG and Sony) and 109 million to Danjaq. These figures revealed in 2014 by North Korean hackers who had entered the database of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“Since the 1960s Danjaq has chosen to shoot the James Bond films in the UK through EON Productions, resulting in an investment of over $ 1 billion in the UK film industry, employing tens of thousands people and showcasing the talents of Britons around the worldSaid Danjaq, who argues that the tax credits allow Agent 007 to continue shooting in England, “for the benefit of the British film industry“.
A justification that is not to the taste of the director of TaxWatch. “Every company that receives a grant argues that the public money it receives is needed to keep jobs in the UK», He says. “The reality is that Bond was produced in the UK for decades and many years before the film tax credit system was introduced. Is it really credible that Captain Bond is deserting to the CIA?», He asserts, referring to the relocated holding company in the United States.
This TaxWatch attack on James Bond producers comes against a backdrop of deep crisis in the British cultural sector, which has been in great difficulty since the start of the global pandemic. Despite the £ 1.57 billion released by the government, independent professionals in the field feel aggrieved by a very unequal distribution of grants.