TAX INCENTIVES

Film Incentive WicklowWicklow’s position as the “Hollywood of Ireland” has been given a major boost by the decision of Wicklow County Council to allow for a 100 per cent reduction in development contributions for film studio infrastructure.

The move will encourage the further development of  film-making facilities in County Wicklow.

Councillors, who approved the initiative today (Monday, 5th October) also agreed to make a case to central government for the raising of the cap on the section 481 tax credit scheme and are seeking an extension of the scheme to 2025, to encourage the development of much needed infrastructure for the film industry.

Section 481

Ireland's Film & TV Tax Credit (aka "Section 481")
From January 1st 2015, Ireland's tax incentive "Section 481" for film and television is enhanced, creating a new payable tax credit programme.

Increased rate of relief
The rate of tax relief has been significantly increased and is now worth up to 32% of eligible Irish expenditure.

Expansion of eligible expenditure criteria
The payable tax credit is now based on the cost of ALL cast & crew working in Ireland, regardless of nationality.

Greater flexibility in the application process
An application for a certificate entitling the applicant to the tax credit can be submitted at any time prior to the completion of the project.

 What is "Section 481"?
"Section 481" is a tax credit, incentivising film & TV production made in Ireland, administered by Ireland's Revenue Commissioners (Revenue). Applications are made by e-mail to: S.481relief@revenue.ie or at Revenue Secure-email.

What types of projects qualify?
The incentive applies to feature film, TV drama (singles or series), animation (excluding computer games), & creative documentary. Projects must either pass the Cultural Test or qualify as an official co-production under one of Irelands Bilateral Co-Production Treaties or the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production.

Who is eligible to apply?
The application to Revenue is made by the "Producer Company".

"Producer Company" must: 

  • Be Irish resident or trading through a branch or agency
  • Make film and TV for cinema exhibition or broadcast or online
  • Be trading for at least 12 months and have filed with Revenue a corporation tax return
  • Not be connected to a broadcaster
  • Hold 100% shareholding in a "Qualifying Company"

 A "Qualifying Company" must: 

  • Be Irish resident or trading through a Branch or Agency
  • Exists as an SPV to make one film

What is the "Section 481" benefit worth?
The applicant producer company can claim a payable tax credit of up to 32% of "eligible expenditure".

What is eligible expenditure?
The payable tax credit is based on the cost of ALL cast & crew working in Ireland, regardless of nationality, as well as goods, services & facilities purchased in Ireland.

Is withholding tax applied to international cast & crew working in Ireland?
Film Withholding Tax (FWT), at a rate of 20%, applies to payments made to Actors (including voice-over artists) for artistic services rendered to the "Qualifying Company", but only if the Actor in question is tax-resident outside the EU and EEA. More information about FWT is available at www.revenue.ie or by contacting the FWT Unit at fwtunit@revenue.ie.

Is there a cap on the incentive?
There is no annual cap or limit on the funding of the programme, meaning there is no limit to the value of the cumulative payable tax credits made by Revenue.
The tax credit has a "per project" cap of up to 32% of the lower of:
(1)     "Eligible expenditure"
(2)     80% of the total cost of production
(3)     €50 million

When is the rebate paid?

Option A - Single Instalment:
On completion of the project and submission of a compliance report to Revenue, payment of 100% of the tax credit may be paid by the Revenue within 30 days.

Option B - Two Instalments:
First instalment being 90% of the tax credit due, upon:
1) Financial Closing, including proof that 68% of eligible expenditure is lodged to the project production account;
2) Irish Film Board certification (IFB funded projects only); or
3) Tax credit guaranteed by financial institution, and
Second & final instalment being 10% balance on submission of compliance report to Revenue.

How is payment made by Revenue?
Payment of the relief may be claimed against the producer company's corporation tax (CT) liabilities. In the event the relief due is greater than any tax due by the producer company, then a payment of the excess will be made by Revenue.

Is there a minimum spend level?
Projects are excluded from the incentive if their "eligible expenditure" is less than €125,000, or the total cost of production is less than €250,000. 

When are applications made to Ireland's Revenue?
An application for a certificate entitling the applicant to the tax credit can be submitted at any time up to but prior to the completion of the project.

Does the tax credit apply to post production expenditure, including VFX?
Yes, the tax credit applies to "eligible expenditure", including that incurred during post production and/or on VFX.

Is there a "sunset" date?
Ireland's film and TV tax credit of up to 32% runs until December 31st 2020.

Irish Revenue Commissioners (Revenue)
Ireland's film & TV tax credit is administered by Revenue. Contact details, and further information about the incentive programme is available at www.revenue.ie.

Further Guidance
The IFB recommends international producers who are considering making a film or TV project in Ireland work with an established Irish production company. Your Irish producer has strong existing relations with local crew and other service providers, and can provide the full range of production services, including the application to Revenue for the tax credit, as well as managing all stages of production including budgeting, scouting, scheduling, casting and crewing.

Useful Links

Screen Producers Ireland
www.screenproducersireland.com

Animation Ireland
www.animationireland.com

VFX Association Ireland
www.vfxai.com 

Media lawyers and accountants can provide advice about Ireland's film & TV tax credit. Contact information can be found in a variety of production directories including:
Irish Film Board CREW and SERVICES database
Irish Film and Television Network (IFTN)

Section 481 Cultural Test

All projects that are put forward to qualify for Section 481, the Irish tax incentive for film and television, are analysed by the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and must meet three of the following cultural test criteria:

1.  The project is an effective stimulus to film making in Ireland, and is of importance to the promotion, development and enhancement of creativity and the national culture - through the medium of film, including, where applicable, the dialogue/narration is wholly or partly in the Irish language or the production of a full Irish-language version of the film is included as part of the total budget for the film. 

2.  The screenplay (or, in the case of a documentary film, the textual basis) from which the film is derived is mainly set in Ireland or elsewhere in the EEA.  

3.  At least one of the principal characters (or documentary subjects) is connected with Irish or European culture. 

4.  The storyline or underlying material of the film is a part of, or derived from, Irish or European culture and/or heritage; or, in the case of an animation film, the storyline clearly connects with the sensibilities of children in Ireland or elsewhere in the EEA. 

5.  The screenplay (or textual basis) from which the film is derived is an adaptation of an original literary work.

6.  The storyline or underlying material of the film concerns art and/or an artist/artists.

7.  The storyline or underlying material of the film concerns historical figures or events.

8.  The storyline or underlying material of the film addresses actual, cultural, social or political issues relevant to the people of Ireland or elsewhere in the EEA; or, in the case of an animation film, addresses educational or social issues relevant to children in Ireland or elsewhere in the EEA.


 
© Copyright County Wicklow Film Commission 2015