Accountancy & Banking

Navigating the future: how the Chancellor's tax relief changes impact the creative industries

By Richard Meller [email protected]

Published: April 7, 2024 | Updated: 7th April 2024

In this month’s Finance Matters, Saffery Director of Corporate Tax, Richard Meller looks at Creative Industries and the Chancellor’s recent tax relief changes.

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We also get to meet Trainee Chartered Accountant, James Woodward and learn about his passion for sport and fitness and his recent Saffery netball signing!

The Chancellor announced a raft of changes to the creative industries tax reliefs which will apply from 1 April 2025. These changes include:

  • Theatre Tax Relief credits and Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief credits will be reduced from the temporary rates of 50% and 45% for touring and non-touring productions and exhibitions to permanent rates at 45% and 40% respectively. In addition, Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief was due to expire from 1 April 2026 under a sunset clause. This sunset clause has been removed
  • Orchestra Tax Relief credits will be set permanently at 45% for all productions.

In the above cases the rate of tax credits were originally set to decrease to their lower pre-pandemic levels, or to expire entirely, by 1 April 2026 and so these announcements should be welcome news to the sector.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) – Multiple Dwellings Relief

The government announced that it will introduce legislation in Finance Bill 2024 to abolish Multiple Dwellings Relief (MDR) with effect from 1 June 2024. The legislation affects residential property purchases in England and Northern Ireland only (not Scotland and Wales which have different equivalent taxes – Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Land Transaction Tax respectively – it remains to be seen whether they will follow with similar changes).

The relief has been available since 2011 and broadly reduces the SDLT payable when a buyer purchases at least two residential properties in a transaction.

Purchasers of student housing are potentially one of the hardest groups hit. Where previously an MDR claim on a purpose-built student block may have reduced the SDLT to as low as 1%, now it will be at least 5%.

For those who are purchasing six or more dwellings in a single transaction, the “six-pack” rule that treats this as a non-residential purchase subject to lower rates will remain, providing some mitigation.

This change will come into effect for transactions which complete, or which substantially perform, on or after 1 June 2024. Transitional rules mean that MDR can still be claimed for contracts which exchanged on or before 6 March 2024, regardless of when completion takes place, provided there is no variation of the contract after that date.

Although not within the initial Budget documentation, we are aware from HMRC that special transitional rules will also apply to linked transactions, so that transactions occurring after abolition of MDR cannot be treated as linked to earlier transactions where tax was calculated in line with the MDR rules.

SDLT – Acquisitions by Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and Public Bodies

The government has announced changes to update the exemptions for certain acquisitions by RSLs where they use a public subsidy to acquire the property. They are updating relevant definitions, including the definition of public subsidy to include receipts from the disposal of social housing that can be re-used for further provision of social housing.

The government has also announced the removal of public bodies from the 15% slab rate on certain acquisitions of property where the value is over £500,000.

Full expensing for plant held for leasing

Full expensing gives a 100% deduction in the year of spend to companies purchasing new and unused plant and machinery but does not currently apply to assets held for leasing. The Chancellor signalled his intention to extend full expensing to qualifying plant and machinery held for leasing, though its introduction will not be until “fiscal conditions allow”. The timing of its introduction is therefore uncertain, and it will not be included in the Spring 2024 Finance Bill.


James Woodward

Name: James Woodward

Role: Trainee Chartered Accountant – Audit

Time at Saffery: 2 ½ years

What’s the best bit about your job?

Although my affinity for numbers is initially what attracted me to the accountancy profession, my favourite part of the job has been the opportunity to socialise both with my colleagues and clients, enabling me to form long lasting relationships.

I have always felt that the level of social skills required as an auditor, especially in a firm such as Saffery, where a strong emphasis is placed on the level of client service we provide, is often overlooked.

The opportunity to work as part of a team, where continuous communication is key to achieving excellent results, has been an environment I have thrived in and has me genuinely looking forward to coming into work in the mornings.

The culture of Saffery is really important to the business and the people within it – what do you think you bring to the team and what do you contribute?

In my short tenure at Saffery, I have become a key member of the team, ensuring that I support my colleagues in their development by taking on a core role in our internal training initiative for this year’s audit cycle.

Furthermore, from January this year another colleague and I have taken over the social committee.  We have already organised a number of successful events with the aim of boosting morale and fostering strong relationships within the team.

If you weren’t doing this role, what might you be doing?

Despite having a Masters in Chemical Engineering, I don’t think I ever considered this as a genuine option after discovering relatively swiftly my lack of interest in the subject.

I suppose I might have become a personal trainer, with the aim of achieving my lifelong goal of owning a gym, but who knows? I’m only 25, so maybe I still will?

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

As you may have guessed from the above answer, I am very passionate about sport and fitness. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite good enough to make it professionally, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be an accountant! l’ll pretty much play anything, shown by my recent signing for the Saffery netball team!

Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know

Aged 14 I passed Grade 7 on the Clarinet and I know how to ride a horse!

Who or what inspires you?

Whilst this may sound like a cliché, my inspiration is my father.  Seeing what he has achieved from his own accord and his ambition to do well in life, has instilled core values in my character which make me determined to succeed.

What’s your favourite place in Dorset?

I have fond memories of embarking on the walk along from Old Harry Rocks to Swanage and enjoying an ice cream with my German Shepherd, Layla, while on the beach remembering to meet her demands to skim stones for her to chase.

Give 3 words to describe yourself

Driven, ambitious, and loyal

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