22 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Budget Changes to Irish Tax Incentive Welcomed by Irish Film Industry
15 Oct 2013 : By Kevin Cronin
Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan
The Government has announced an improvement to Ireland’s S.481 tax incentive scheme in the budget – extending it to apply to non-EU talent working in Ireland & moving forward the promised increase in its value to 2015.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan expressed his enthusiasm for the increased competitiveness this would grant the Irish film industry.

'I welcome the announcement by Minister Noonan that he intends to bring forward the new regime for film tax reliefs to 2015, and also extend the definition of 'eligible individual' in the scheme for film relief to include non-EU talent. This will increase the attractiveness of Ireland as a destination for film investment,’ the Minister said.

The Government has acknowledged the growth in the industry, which Finance Minister Michael Noonan reflected in his comments which described the sector as ‘job rich’ with a ‘knock-on boost’ to the tourism sector.

‘This extension will be subject to EU state-aid approval and it will be coupled with the introduction of a withholding tax,’ he added.

Irish Film Board Chief Executive James Hickey welcomed the announcement today, stating that the new measures would bring Ireland into line with the UK and continue to attract foreign film investment in Ireland.

Mr Hickey said: ‘The enhancement of the Irish tax incentive for the film and television industry demonstrates the commitment of the Irish government to the future of the Irish film, television and animation sector and Ireland's creative industries. Earlier in 2013 the Irish government extended the Section 481 scheme to 2020 and increased its value to 32% as of 2016. This improvement and the change just announced in the 2014 budget has now been brought forward to 2015.’

Production activity across the film, independent drama, TV and animation industry in Ireland in 2012 was valued at over €180 million - in terms of expenditure on local goods and services in Ireland. This represented an increase of approximately 30% on 2011 figures. Employment levels within the overall audio-visual industry, which has a turnover of over €500 million, have also increased to over 6,500 full-time job equivalents.

The general consensus is that the extension of S.481 to non-EU talent will increase Ireland’s attractiveness as a filming location to Hollywood actors and film personnel. This change will, however, necessitate the creation of a new ‘withholding tax’ - which is common in other countries and paid in the UK at a rate of 20% - that the individual can then use as a tax credit in their home country.

Also universally welcomed is the increase from 28% to 32% of eligible spend which can be raised through S.481, and the fast-tracking of this change coming into effect by a year to 2015.

Screen Producers Ireland has hailed the enhancements as proof of Government support for the Irish film industry.

‘Screen Producers Ireland welcomes the announcement in today’s budget to include non-EU talent in the new tax incentive scheme. This amendment taken together with the Minister’s announcements during last year’s Budget and Finance Bill demonstrates Government’s continued support for the indigenous and international film, television and animation sector’.

‘We look forward to working closely with Government to finalise details of how the new scheme will work in practice, particularly the timing of the payment of the tax credit and the introduction of a withholding tax,’ Barbara Galavan, SPI’s Chief Executive said.

The Audiovisual Federation – an affiliate of IBEC and a representative body for the audiovisual industry in Ireland – expressed similar sentiments.

‘The announcement that Section 481 will apply to non-EU in addition to EU talent working in Ireland is a significant boost for a sector that is under pressure. By matching incentives that are currently available in the UK, the move should help attract mobile foreign film investment to Ireland and support local jobs,’ Torlach Denihan, Director of AVF said.

Commenting further on the Budget, Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan also highlighted his Department’s continuing contribution to the Irish Film Board and Arts Council, within the limits of a reduced budget.

'Even with a reduced Departmental budget, every week more than €2.3 million will be invested in arts, culture and film next year. Well over half of this - €70 million - will go to the Arts Council and the Film Board. This will help to maintain and support the important role the arts play in innovation and expression as well as job creation and economic recovery,' he said.

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