Tax breaks / incentives
As referenced in the introduction, Jamaica’s government has not, as yet, introduced competitive tax incentives. Possibly this will change in the future as a result of lobbying by the industry. It is interesting to note, for example, that the government has recently announced plans for a high-end studio (see below). It would be surprising if it sanctioned that investment but was not considering an incentive scheme.
In the absence of incentives, the Jamaica Film Commission says: “Jamaica is committed to the growth of its film industry, and offers a number of benefits to the investor including business-friendly entry requirements and easy access to visas and work permits needed to facilitate projects”. On tax concessions, it says: “Producers and investors may apply through the commission to access incentives offered under the law. Benefits offered include: tax-free profits from overseas release of film and video for nine years; duty-free and tax free concessions on equipment, machinery and materials for the building of studios and support facilities; no withholding tax on dividends paid to resident shareholders with investments in film companies; General Consumption Tax rebate of 16.5% project by project on all goods and services bought in Jamaica.”
Other factors which have worked against Jamaica include the lack of free public locations and spaces and the under-utilisation of its co-production treaties. For example, it signed such an agreement with the UK in 2007, but has yet to use it.