Exclusive: Turkey launches 30% cash rebate for films and TV series

International producers will need to pass a points-based qualification test to access the incentive

Turkey has launched a new cash rebate of up to 30% based on local spend for feature films, documentaries and TV series, as part of efforts to entice international productions to the country.

This will be a huge boost for Turkey, which has an impressive cinematic history and a burgeoning TV industry, helped by Netflix-backed local series like Rise of Empires: Ottoman, but has struggled to attract major international projects in recent years, partly due to safety concerns.

That is likely to change in the coming months with this new incentive and the fact that tourists are returning to the country (latest figures show that almost 43 million foreign visitors flocked to the country in the first 11 months of 2019), helped by the US Department of State rating Turkey as Level 2, the second-least severe of four travel warning categories.

Any productions looking to film in Turkey and access the incentive will need to spend at least TL6m (£760,000) in the country for feature films, and TL1m (£127,000) for documentaries and TV series (per episode).

Foreign producers must partner with a Turkish co-producer or production service provider, as only they can apply for the incentive. They must also pass a points-based qualification test, with sections relating to cultural content, the involvement of Turkish citizens and the use of local film infrastructure. Projects need to achieve at least 50 points (out of a possible total of 100) to be eligible for the rebate.

They must then submit the application form and supporting documents, along with the qualification test, to the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which has set up an Incentive Commission to evaluate applications.

“As part of the initial application, applicants are to submit an audited accounts statement listing the eligible expenses for which they intend to seek a rebate,” confirm the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s Directorate General of Cinema in documents sent to KFTV.

The rebate will be paid after the submission of the audited statement and the delivery of the rough cut of the audiovisual work completed on Turkish territory.

"We believe these new incentives will have a major impact on the numbers of international productions coming to film in Turkey," insists Mert Gurel at local production service providers Fixer in Turkey to KFTV. 

Foreign film producers can also receive a VAT refund for all expenses relating to the procurement and import of goods and services incurred during the film’s shoot. To be considered for the refund, producers must obtain a filming permit from the Directorate General of Cinema and submit a petition and audited statement for the VAT refund to an authorized tax office following the completion of shooting in Turkey…

▪ Department of Taxation in Ankara-Başkent Tax Office

▪ Department of Taxation in İstanbul-Beyoğlu Tax Office

▪ Department of Taxation in İzmir-Konak Tax Office

For more information, visit: https://gib.gov.tr/en

 Shooting in Turkey requires permits from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which usually take about two weeks. "However, producers should keep in mind that the general filming permit is only the first layer of permits; other regulations/permits will need to follow depending on the city of filming," says Gurel.

Bringing in equipment with an ATA Carnet is easy and usually advised. "If the crew are looking to hire locally, they should remember that the rental houses are based in Istanbul," adds Gurel. 

Exclusive: Turkey launches 30% cash rebate for films and TV series
Istanbul, Turkey
Exclusive: Turkey launches 30% cash rebate for films and TV series
Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey has launched a new cash rebate of up to 30% based on local spend for feature films, documentaries and TV series, as part of efforts to entice international productions to the country.

This will be a huge boost for Turkey, which has an impressive cinematic history and a burgeoning TV industry, helped by Netflix-backed local series like Rise of Empires: Ottoman, but has struggled to attract major international projects in recent years, partly due to safety concerns.

That is likely to change in the coming months with this new incentive and the fact that tourists are returning to the country (latest figures show that almost 43 million foreign visitors flocked to the country in the first 11 months of 2019), helped by the US Department of State rating Turkey as Level 2, the second-least severe of four travel warning categories.

Any productions looking to film in Turkey and access the incentive will need to spend at least TL6m (£760,000) in the country for feature films, and TL1m (£127,000) for documentaries and TV series (per episode).

Foreign producers must partner with a Turkish co-producer or production service provider, as only they can apply for the incentive. They must also pass a points-based qualification test, with sections relating to cultural content, the involvement of Turkish citizens and the use of local film infrastructure. Projects need to achieve at least 50 points (out of a possible total of 100) to be eligible for the rebate.

They must then submit the application form and supporting documents, along with the qualification test, to the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which has set up an Incentive Commission to evaluate applications.

“As part of the initial application, applicants are to submit an audited accounts statement listing the eligible expenses for which they intend to seek a rebate,” confirm the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s Directorate General of Cinema in documents sent to KFTV.

The rebate will be paid after the submission of the audited statement and the delivery of the rough cut of the audiovisual work completed on Turkish territory.

"We believe these new incentives will have a major impact on the numbers of international productions coming to film in Turkey," insists Mert Gurel at local production service providers Fixer in Turkey to KFTV. 

Foreign film producers can also receive a VAT refund for all expenses relating to the procurement and import of goods and services incurred during the film’s shoot. To be considered for the refund, producers must obtain a filming permit from the Directorate General of Cinema and submit a petition and audited statement for the VAT refund to an authorized tax office following the completion of shooting in Turkey…

▪ Department of Taxation in Ankara-Başkent Tax Office

▪ Department of Taxation in İstanbul-Beyoğlu Tax Office

▪ Department of Taxation in İzmir-Konak Tax Office

For more information, visit: https://gib.gov.tr/en

 Shooting in Turkey requires permits from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which usually take about two weeks. "However, producers should keep in mind that the general filming permit is only the first layer of permits; other regulations/permits will need to follow depending on the city of filming," says Gurel.

Bringing in equipment with an ATA Carnet is easy and usually advised. "If the crew are looking to hire locally, they should remember that the rental houses are based in Istanbul," adds Gurel. 

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