Manitoba makes its tax credit permanent, removes sunset clause

Film commissioner Carole Vivier said the renewal gives long-term stability to the local sector as production volume in the province continues to surge.

There was good news for the Manitoba industry on Tuesday as the provincial government opted to make the Film and Video Production Tax Credit permanent, as well as removing the sunset clause that had been set to call time on the credit by year’s end.

The renewal decision comes 10 months after a working group was established to review the effectiveness of the provincial credit. The group concluded that the credit was an “integral tool” in the future growth of the local industry, according to a statement issued by the Manitoba government. Last year the provincial government invested $16 million in the tax credit, with a new budget set to be tabled in the coming months.

Manitoba has experienced a production boom over the past few years, with production volume jumping from $127 million in fiscal 2015/16 to $173 million in 2016/17. Last month Manitoba Film & Music (MFM) reported that the province had hit a record $210 million in production spending with two months of the fiscal year remaining. Since April, around 50 projects have filmed in the province including season two of Canadian drama Burden of Truth (ICF Films, Eagle Vision, eOne).

The stability of a permanent tax credit will help attract studios and broadcasters looking to shoot multi-season TV series and film projects, said outgoing MFM CEO and film commissioner Carole Vivier. “This is really a crucial piece of the puzzle and sends a message that Manitoba is open for business and ready to grow this sector,” she told Playback Daily.

Vivier added that she thinks the renewal of the tax credit will encourage more international businesses to put roots down in Manitoba after L.A.-based management and production company The Cartel opened a Winnipeg outpost in September. At the time, the company, which produces MOWs, indie features and TV series, said it plans to produce between eight and 10 projects in Winnipeg in 2019.

Manitoba’s tax credit is available in two separate programs. The first is offered as a 45% refundable labour-based credit, which can be stacked with a 10% frequent-filmer bonus, a 5% local-producer bonus and a 5% rural and northern Manitoba bonus, equaling a total 65% cost-of-salaries tax credit. Alternatively, producers can access the 30% cost-of-production tax credit on all eligible Manitoba-based expenses.

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