Thursday 29 September 2016

Tax breaks to reel in producers

Published 26/05/2015 | 02:30

Cinema executives, including Philip Lee, who produced Batman movie 'The Dark Knight', recently visited Limerick, scouting a number of locations
Cinema executives, including Philip Lee, who produced Batman movie 'The Dark Knight', recently visited Limerick, scouting a number of locations

In the last Budget, Finance Minister Michael Noonan revamped the tax incentives for film production, hoping to restore Ireland's attractiveness as a location for the industry.

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While some major series and movies are made here, the country had lost out on other projects. Among them, the hugely successful 'Game of Thrones', which is made in Northern Ireland. It had offered incentives that managed to ensure its future as the base for the show.

Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act provides for corporation tax relief for investment in films by companies. But the new Film Regulations measures provide more provisions to boost our ability to lure investment. Relief is now available at a rate of 32pc at the lowest of either the eligible expenditure incurred in Ireland; 80pc of the total cost of the production of the film; or €50m. Also, the tax credit is now based on the cost of all cast and crew working in Ireland, regardless of nationality.

Minister Noonan even indicated that the €50m cap could be raised in the next Budget. The measures also hope to provide a boost to those entering the industry. For every €355,000 of corporation tax credit claimed, a minimum of two trainees must be employed on a project, up to a maximum of eight.

Whether a production can avail of the tax credit rests on meeting three of eight criteria. They include:

l That the film must be an "effective stimulus to film- making in Ireland" and enhances the development and enhancement of creativity and the national culture

l That the screenplay is set mainly in Ireland or the European Economic Area.

l Or that the film is derived from an adaptation of an original literary work.

"As the new scheme beds down… I will be monitoring how it works and how it can be improved," Mr Noonan said last year.

JOHN MULLIGAN

Irish Independent

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