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Ireland urged to extend filming incentives

Star Wars in IrelandThe Irish government has been urged to formally extend its filming incentive support, ahead of the country’s 2017 budget.

Ireland’s Audiovisual Federation wants the government to confirm that the country’s generous tax credit programme – known as Section 481 – will be extended beyond the year 2020. The organisation also wants official support for the Irish Film Board’s €20m capital funding.

"The sector faces fierce international competition for inward investment from a range of countries, the UK including Northern Ireland in particular, using a mixture of tax based production incentives and direct subvention,” said Torlach Denihan, director of the Audiovisual Federation.

“Competition from the latter is set to increase because continued weakening in sterling versus the euro is likely.

“The Section 481 tax based production incentive is crucial to employment in the sector and should be extended beyond 2020. Crucially, this must be signalled to the market no later than three years before 2020 because of the long planning horizons associated with audiovisual productions. 

“A lack of clarity may lead to a loss of business and missed opportunities. In this regard it must be noted that almost all other EU member states provide tax based production incentives and that the UK enhanced its offering in recent years.”

VikingsIreland’s filming incentive support has helped boost the country’s appeal as a competitive international production location. 

History Channel’s scripted series Vikings (pictured left) and Sky’s gothic drama Penny Dreadful have both filmed multiple seasons in separate studio facilities near Dublin.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (pictured above) shot scenes on the south-west island of Skellig Michael and in the last few months the next in the new trilogy – so far still known only as Episode VIII – filmed along the west coast’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Extending Section 481 beyond 2020 will enable producers to plan ahead, which is useful for feature films that can sometimes take years to develop. Television projects often want reassurance that they can rely on tax credit support for multi-season runs.

Ireland faces particular pressure from Northern Ireland – home to Game of Thrones – which benefits from the UK’s film and TV incentives.  

For more on filming in Ireland see our production guide.

Star Wars image: Lucasfilm. Vikings image: History Channel


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