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For your eyes only: the story of the superspy, the taxman and a very British brand | Movie




From Miss Moneypenny to Q, James Bond has long relied on a series of government officials. It has now emerged that Her Majesty’s most famous secret agent has also enjoyed the backing of another British official: the IRS.

A new investigation report thinktank, TaxWatchsuggests EON Productions, the London studio that makes the James Bond films, makes very little profit in the UK but has received tens of millions of pounds in tax credits.

Public records show that Spectrum, released in 2015, received 30 million tax credits, while the latest film, No time to die, whose release has been postponed until next year due to the global pandemic, received $ 47 million.

The total amount of UK tax credits received by EON since their introduction in 2007 will likely be closer to 120 million. Leaked emails revealed that the years 2012 Sky Fall received $ 24 million in tax credits, while TaxWatch calculates that Quantum of Solace (2008) would have received about 21 million.

The postponement of No time to die the 25the 007 blockbuster was cited by the The Cineworld channel as a major reason it recently decided to temporarily close its UK cinemas.

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 money. , said George Turner, director of TaxWatch.

In order for a film to receive tax credits, it must be culturally British certified by the British Film Institute.

But, then, few brands are as British as the 007 franchise which has generated some $ 16 billion in revenue since its inception. Daniel Craig was memorable alongside the Queen at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

While many parts of the films are shot overseas, production is concentrated at Pinewood Studios, near London. Assembly and post-production work on Spectrum was divided between Pinewood and Soho in central London.

Cineworld in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, with a poster of No Time to Die.

Cineworld in Stevenage, Hertfordshire: The company cited the delayed release of No Time to Die as a major reason for its decision to temporarily close its cinemas earlier this month. Photograph: Linda Nylind / The Guardian

EON does not fund Bond films, takes no financial risk, and has never held any directing rights to the films since producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R Cubby Broccoli acquired the rights to the Ian Flemings Bond novels and founded the company in 1961. The following year, Broccoli and Saltzmans, Dana and Jacqueline, created a company called Danjaq an elision of their names incorporated in Switzerland.

As part of the structure the two men put in place, EON would make the films in the UK and sell them to Danjaq. In the 1990s, Danjaq was incorporated in Delaware.

The political masters of bonds would prefer the spy to be an uniquely British asset. In February 2016, Conservative MP Mark Spencer said Bond film profits tax should be paid in this country, not all over the world. Danjaq said in a statement: All income from James Bond films received by EON and Danjaq is subject to tax in the UK or the US. None of the income is safe in a tax haven.

EON states in its 2015 accounts that once production of a film is completed, the film is sold at a price equal to the total cost of production less the amount received for UK film tax credits.

Such an arrangement is legal and common in the film industry. TaxWatch suggests this means little profit will be made in the UK, which will reduce the resulting tax debt. It is not clear how much tax Bond pays overseas due to the financial structure of franchises.

But it is clear that it is extremely profitable. In 2014, leaked emails, believed to have been obtained by North Korean agents who hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment, revealed that Sky Fall, which grossed $ 1.1 billion globally, made $ 232 million in profit for distributors MGM and Sony. Danjaq won $ 109 million.

Spectrum grossed $ 880 million worldwide, excluding DVD and VOD sales revenue.

Danjaq said: Since the 1960s Danjaq has chosen to make the James Bond films in the UK through EON Productions, resulting in an investment of over $ 1 billion in the film industry. Britain, employing tens of thousands of people and showcasing the talents of Britons around the world.

EON has used the tax credits to help fund the making of Bond films in the manner intended by the government. This allowed Bond films to continue to be produced in the UK for the benefit of the UK film industry.

Each company receiving a grant argues that the public money it receives is needed to keep jobs in the UK, TaxWatchs Turner said.

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 Commander Bond is defecting from the CIA?

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