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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 February, 2004, 18:44 GMT
Producer 'may quit UK' over tax
Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley was due to star in Tulip Fever
The producer of British film Tulip Fever has said she will move to the US if changes to tax laws for movies go ahead as planned.

Alison Owen shut down work on the Keira Knightley and Johnny Depp movie last week, putting 80 jobs at risk.

The move came after the government closed a tax loophole for film investors it said was being abused.

Owen said: "If Tulip Fever goes down I will move to Los Angeles or New York - it's too difficult to make movies here."

The Inland Revenue says investors "exploited" the loophole by putting money into a film but pulling out before it reached cinemas - and avoiding paying tax on their investment.

The film industry wants the government to keep it open for current productions to save them from collapse.

Decision

Producers hoped to get a decision from the Inland Revenue by the end of last week - but no announcement was made.

Owen said the announcement came just as contracts for the film were about to be finalised.

"On 10 February we had a meeting for five-thirty to sign everything off, but I had a call at 10 o'clock saying this news had been posted on a government website," she explained.

"If we'd known 12 months ago, I would have structured the film a different way, but you cut your coat according to your cloth," she said.

However, she said the film could still be rescued "if the Treasury change their mind, give us some transitional relief, or come up with another plan by the middle of the week".

If that did not happen, she said: "We're done for."

Owen said the news was all the more shocking because Chancellor Gordon Brown had been "incredibly supportive" of the British film industry.

"This news came out of the blue and it's been so damaging," she said.


SEE ALSO:
UK movie productions 'shut down'
20 Feb 04  |  Entertainment
Q&A: UK film tax crisis
22 Feb 04  |  Entertainment


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