On 30th June Ofcom made it’s latest statement on the future of the channel 69 radio mic band.

The Clearing the 800 MHz band statement confirms that channel 69 will be cleared and replaced by channel 38.

Ch38 (606 – 614 MHz) will become available on a UK wide basis from 1 January 2012, as a replacement for Ch69 (854 – 862 MHz);

Ch38 will be available on the same terms as Ch69, you will need to be licensed to use it and you will share it with other licensed users.

PMSE users will continue to have access to Ch61 – 69 (790 – 862 MHz) until at least 1 January 2012, and possibly up to the end of DSO in 2012;

PMSE users will continue to have access to Ch31 – 35 (550 – 590 MHz) until the end of DSO in 2012;

Users of Ch36 (590 – 598 MHz) will be given 12 months notice to vacate once the spectrum has been awarded

Funding will be provided for the move from Ch69 to Ch38 subject to eligibility criteria, but the details won’t be announced until October 2009 following a consultation.

JFMG have been devising a channel 38 shared plan and will be consulting with users over the coming months to develop something that best satisfies all requirements.

4 Responses

  1. Hi Alex,

    Yes, It's tricky right now if you are looking to buy. I'd say it depends on your budget. If you are looking for top quality mics you can use everywhere in the UK have a word with the manufacturers and see if they can sell you something on channel 69 and give you a good deal on converting it to channel 38 when the time comes.

    You can buy and licence channel 38 now but there are restrictions on it's use in some parts of the country so it's not the solution for everyone. However if you are unlikely to want to use them in those areas this could be the solution for you. (see jfmg website for details of the restrictions)

    Any channel 69 licence you buy now will include access to channel 38 too.

    If you are looking for cheap radio mics, get something that will work on the free to use frequencies on channel 70 which are not affected by the current changes.

  2. I prepare annual and VAT accounts for a number of Sound Recordists and cannot tell my people about the tax implications of accepting the “compensation” for loss of Ch 69.

    People talk about “grants”, “compensation” or “ex gratia payments” but lump sum “gains” in Freelance accounts have to be declared and usually attract tax. Clever wording would not influence HMRC to view compensation payments as tax free unless special arrangements have already been made between OFCOM/Equinity and their associates and the Revenue to hand over the momey tax free.

    HMRC claim to know nothing about the Equinity/PMSE Funding proposals. OFCOM say they have no idea if the payments will be taxable and their agents will not take telephone calls and do not ring back.

    There might also be an implication for VAT registered traders as OFCOM/Equinity might ask for a signing-off document in the form of an official invoice and any VAT registered business must then add VAT which I doubt Equinity will agree to pay.

    With regard to taxation on the money people will get back has anyone been informed directly about the situation ? I have not heard from any of my clients that they expect their compensation to be taxed.

    Professional Associations advise that any lump sum paid to a trader/Freelancer/business arising from business assets written into the books will be taxable. If this is the case then people expecting to get just over 58% will end up with a lot less if the lump sum is declared as part of their annual earnings. A higher rate tax payer could end up with less than half of what he expects to receive.

    Is there any feedback on this ?


  3. This is an interesting one which caused some uncertainty I'm not a tax expert but OFCOM did make a statement on it.

    “Ofcom is not in a position to provide tax advice and people who receive funding should rely on their own professional advice. However, Ofcom did look at the likely tax status of funding payments when drawing up its policy. It has received legal advice that the key issue to consider when assessing the VAT status of the funding payment is whether it is made in return for goods or services. Although the scheme requires people to surrender the PMSE equipment they are claiming for (except when they choose to modify it), Ofcom understands that this is unlikely to be considered as a taxable supply subject to VAT because the purpose of surrender is to verify the equipment exists, meets the criteria of the scheme and will no longer be used in channel 69. If HMRC took a different view, no additional funding would be provided. Further information can be found here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/vatscmanual/VATSC50400.htm .”

    So no, there's not VAT to pay on it seemingly but we will have to pay income tax on it – the same as if we had sold the equipment on the open market.

    It's also worth pointing out if questions are asked that this isn't compensation it's funding or a “grant” which as I understand it effects the way it is treated for VAt.

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