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  • Film tax offsets

    There are three film tax offsets you can claim:

    The producer tax offset

    The producer tax offset is a refundable tax offset for Australian expenditure in making Australian films. The amount of the producer tax offset is:

    • 40% of the company’s total QAPE on a feature film
    • 20% of the company’s total QAPE on a film that is not a feature film.

    The producer tax offset applies only to QAPE incurred on or after 1 July 2007.

    The producer tax offset is available to a company for the making of an Australian film when the following conditions are met:

    • The ‘film authority’ (currently Screen Australia) has issued to the company a final certificate for the film in relation to the producer tax offset.
    • The company claims the tax offset in its income tax return for the income year in which the film is completed.
    • The company is either an Australian resident company or a foreign resident company with a permanent establishment in Australia and an Australian business number (ABN).
    • The company has not been provided with financial assistance for the film under Screen Australia's Producer Equity Program.

    The company is only entitled to the producer tax offset in respect of the film if a final certificate is issued to that company by Screen Australia. Screen Australia will issue the certificate to a company only where it is satisfied the criteria set out in Division 376 of the ITAA 1997 have been met.

    Broadly, Screen Australia must be satisfied that:

    • the film is completed
    • the film has ‘significant Australian content’ or it is an official co-production between Australia and another country
    • the film is of an eligible format and genre
    • the applicant company has either carried out, or made the arrangements for carrying out, all the activities necessary for the making of the film
    • the company’s total QAPE on the film meets or exceeds relevant thresholds.

    For more information on the producer tax offset certification, including QAPE thresholds, and what is ‘significant Australian content’ and an eligible format and genre, go to Producer offsetExternal Link.

    As part of the process of assessing an application for the final certificate, Screen Australia will formally determine the company’s total QAPE on the film for the purposes of the producer tax offset. For a full discussion on what constitutes QAPE, go to Qualifying expenditureExternal Link.

    Screen Australia will also provide a copy of the final certificate and its determination of the company’s total QAPE on the film to us to enable us to verify claims. We will not reconsider that determination or aspects of Screen Australia’s final certification process.

    Once the company claims the producer tax offset in its income tax return for the income year in which the film was completed, we will calculate the company’s producer tax offset based on the final certificate issued by Screen Australia and its determination of the company’s total QAPE on the film. We will then apply that tax offset against the company’s Australian tax liability for the income year in which the film was completed, and refund any remainder to the company.

    See also:

    The location tax offset

    The location tax offset is available for films:

    • that do not satisfy the significant Australian content test required for the producer tax offset
    • where production (that is, principal photography or production of the animated image) commenced on or after 8 May 2007.

    The location tax offset is calculated at:

    • 16.5% of the company’s total QAPE on the film if production of the film commenced on or after 10 May 2011
    • 15% of the company’s total QAPE on the film if production of the film commenced before 10 May 2011.

    The location tax offset is available to a company for the making of a film when the following conditions are met:

    • The Minister for the Arts has issued to the company a final certificate for the film in relation to the location offset.
    • The company is either an Australian resident company or a foreign resident company with a permanent establishment in Australia and an ABN.

    The company generally claims the tax offset in its income tax return for the income year in which the company’s QAPE on the film ceased.

    However, if the company commenced production of the film before 1 July 2010 and the company’s total QAPE on the film is less than $50 million, the company claims the tax offset in its income tax return for the income year in which the company’s ‘production expenditure’ on the film ceased.

    The issue by the Minister for the Arts of a final certificate to a company for a film in relation to the location tax offset is the central requirement for the company’s entitlement to the location tax offset in respect of the film.

    An application to the Minister for the Arts for such a final certificate is considered by the Film Certification Advisory Board, comprising industry representatives and a senior official from the Office for the Arts, which advises the Minister on whether to issue a final certificate.

    Broadly, the Minister for the Arts must be satisfied that:

    • the film is of an eligible format and genre
    • the company’s total QAPE on the film is at least $15 million
    • the company has either carried out, or made the arrangements for carrying out, all the activities in Australia necessary for the making of the film.

    If the company commenced production of the film before 1 July 2010 and the company’s total QAPE on the film is less than $50 million:

    • total QAPE must be at least 70% of the company’s total ‘production expenditure’ on the film
    • the company must have either carried out, or made the arrangements for carrying out, all the activities worldwide necessary for the making of the film.

    Like the producer tax offset, the company’s total QAPE on the film is determined as part of the final certification process for the location tax offset. That information, along with a copy of the final certificate, is provided to us to enable us to verify claims and process payment of the location tax offset.

    See also:

    The post, digital and visual effects (PDV) tax offset

    The PDV tax offset applies to the production of PDV for a film that commences on or after 1 July 2007. It is designed to attract post-production, digital and visual effects production to Australia, no matter where the film is shot.

    The PDV tax offset is available to a company in respect of a film when the following conditions are met:

    • The Minister for the Arts has issued to the company a final certificate for the film in relation to the PDV tax offset.
    • The company claims the PDV tax offset in its income tax return for the income year in which the company ceased incurring QAPE related to PDV production for the film.
    • The company is either an Australian resident company or a foreign resident company with a permanent establishment in Australia and an ABN.

    The PDV tax offset is 30% of the company’s total QAPE that relates to PDV production for the film which is, broadly, expenditure on PDV production work undertaken in Australia. However, if the PDV production commenced before 1 July 2011, the PDV tax offset is 15% of the company’s total QAPE that relates to PDV production for the film.

    The issue by the Minister for the Arts of a final certificate to a company for a film in relation to the PDV tax offset is the central requirement for the company’s entitlement to the PDV tax offset in respect of the film.

    An application to the Minister for the Arts for such a final certificate is considered by the Film Certification Advisory Board, comprising industry representatives and a senior official from the Office for the Arts, which advises the Minister on whether to issue a final certificate.

    Broadly, the Minister for the Arts must be satisfied that:

    • the film is of an eligible format and genre
    • the company’s total QAPE related to PDV production for the film is at least $500,000 (or $5 million if PDV production in Australia commenced before 1 July 2010)
    • the company has either carried out, or made the arrangements for carrying out, all the activities in Australia necessary for the PDV production for the film.

    PDV production for a film is:

    • the creation of audio or visual elements (other than principal photography, pick-ups or the creation of physical elements such as sets, props or costumes) for the film
    • the manipulation of audio or visual elements (other than pick-ups or physical elements such as sets, props or costumes) for the film
    • activities that are necessarily related to the activities mentioned above.

    This includes expenditure on VFX, 2D and 3D animation, audio post editing, green-screen photography and miniatures undertaken in Australia.

    The company’s total QAPE related to PDV production for the film is determined as part of the final certification process for the PDV tax offset. That information along with a copy of the final certificate is provided to us to enable us to verify claims and process payment of the PDV tax offset.

    For a more extensive list of activities and further details of the application process for certification, guidelines and eligibility criteria, see Tax rebates for film and television producersExternal Link

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    Last modified: 27 May 2021QC 64890