Spotlight on film and TV tax incentives part 2
Following last week's feature in which we looked at various tax incentives around the world, this week we continue to highlight just what what is on offer for filmmakers internationally.
Among markets seeking to build a world class film business, one of the most high-profile is the UAE’s Abu Dhabi. In 2012, the Abu Dhabi Film Commission launched the Middle East’s first international production incentive, providing access to a 30% cash-back rebate on productions, including feature films, television content, commercials, music videos and more. The rebate also applies to travel and accommodation including airfares booked on locally-owned carrier Etihad Airways. One element to be aware of is that every project receiving the rebate will have to offer training and intern opportunities during local filming.
The situation in Eastern Europe is complex. While a number of markets offer incentives, the headline rate they quote sometimes doesn’t translate into as much money as expected. This accusation was thrown at the Czech Republic last year, with a promised 20% rebate actually coming in at more like 8% by the time productions were complete. Producers also need to be cautious about the size of available funds. Hungary offers 20% as well, but the fund to support that tends to be quickly over-subscribed.
The situation is similar for Croatia, which introduced a competitive new tax incentive in 2012. Into the equation, producers also need to consider the varying cost of shooting. The Czech Republic and Hungary are more expensive than markets like Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria, for example. One new opportunity worth exploring is Lithuania, which has recently added a tax rebate worth up to 20% of local spending.
In 2013, the Malaysian Government introduced incentives for film, television and other screen production. Entitled the Film in Malaysia Incentive (FIMI), the incentive is intended to “encourage production works and increase skill ets that would be of international standard [making] Malaysia a preferred destination and film production hub”. FIMI is a 30% cash rebate on all Qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditure (QMPE). Also worth noting is that Pinewood has recently opened a studio in Malaysia, which means there is good support for film-makers.
If you’re purely looking for a cost-effective location (as opposed to state-of-the-art studios etc), then one of the best tax incentives in the world is in Spain’s Canary Islands. The rebate is 38% for film and TV productions. Investors can also take advantage of the Canary Islands Special Zone Low-Tax Regime.
Mount Teide, Tenerife
South Africa’s incentive is “intended to encourage and attract large-budget films and television productions and post-production work that will contribute towards employment creation, enhancement of South Africa's international profile, and increase the country’s creative and technical skills base.”
The regime for film and television production incentives was revised in March 2012 and now centres on a 20% tax reduction on production expenditure for foreign productions filmed in South Africa with a budget of R12m (about $1.3m) or above. This rises to 22.5%-25% reduction if filming and post-production take place in South Africa. Post-production expenditure must be R1.5m (about $166,000) or above. There is also a South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production Incentive which provides a rebate of 35% for the first R6m ($662 000) spent, and 25% for the remainder.
Staying in this part of the world, Mauritius recently launched a 30% film tax incentive aimed at attracting international production. The island state is also looking at signing co-production treaties with territories such as the UK, France, South Africa and India. Mauritius has a landscape that is similar in some respects to South Africa.
In terms of domestic production, Colombia is booming. But it is not known that well by many producers outside Latin America. Attempts to address that fact include a new 40% location filming incentive that is available for films and TV movies that spend $500,000 locally. In addition, producers can also claim a 20% rebate on accommodation, food, and transportation. The incentive is backed by a film fund worth about $14m. The biggest drawback (or advantage depending on your perspective) is that it is aimed at medium-budget productions, with a cap that excludes high-end blockbuster movies.
For a global round up of film tax incentives around the world, visit our country directory.
You can read Part 1 of this article by clicking here.