Tax breaks / incentives
Mexico offers a fiscal incentive to any foreign production, regardless of their spend in Mexico, in the form of a tax rebate (Value Added Tax or VAT). The incentive is known as VAT 0% and productions are entitled to claim it back at the end of their shoot, provided they have registered the project with the Ministry of Finance through a Mexican company legally established in Mexico, and up-to-date with their tax payments.
Depending on the area of the country where the VAT payments are made, it can be of 11% or 16%. It is 11% only in the border regions of Mexico, while the rest of the country can claim 16%.
The mechanism has been so successful that some Mexican production companies are able to calculate approximately how much money they will receive by way of VAT, based on the amount of money to be spent in Mexico. If the project lasts for several months, they are even able to receive monthly VAT returns. All expenses must be properly invoiced according to the Mexican fiscal law in order to be valid and receive the paid VAT.
Programme for the High Impact Film and Audiovisual Industry (ProAV Fund).
Mexico does have a programme to support the audiovisual industry that complements the existing public policy of supporting the industry. This scheme offers an incentive of up to 17.5% of the production disbursements made in Mexico. It consists of a cash reimbursement applied on the documented expenses and the refund of the Value Added Tax (VAT) incurred by them in the country.
ProAV, which was created to offer productions a better experience when filming in the country, allows any film or audiovisual production spending a minimum of 40m pesos in Mexico during its development and production phases, and/or 10m pesos on post-production, may qualify for the financial reimbursements. Production and post-production expenses can be combined, but in that case, a minimum of 70m pesos must be reached.
The scheme also applies to video games and animation projects investing 10m pesos. With regards to commercials, the costs can be accumulated over the space of a year, and they can apply when total spend reached 40m; the maximum claim here is up to 7.5%.
The programme offers two benefits: a refund of the Value Added Tax (VAT) of up to 16%, which has already been in effect as a stimulus to the export of goods and services for several years.
Since not all spend concepts in Mexico are subject to VAT, the system provides for funding so producers can receive up to 7.5% of Mexican qualified spend. The two benefits combined come to a net 17.5% of the qualifying production and post-production costs spent within Mexico.
Finally, because Mexico is a federation, the governments of the entities forming it have autonomy in their management and budgets, allowing them to be active participants in the promotion of film investments within their territory.