Alberta film, TV tax credit increased to 30% for locally-owned projects

The tax credit was announced in the province's 2019 budget to replace the Screen-Based Production Grant, and initially placed a 22% cap on financing production costs.

The Alberta government has made a change to its Film and Television Tax Credit, with “Alberta-based” productions eligible for a 30% credit on production costs, an increase from the previously announced 22%, which will remain for foreign service productions.

The tax credit, which is now open for applications, was announced in the 2019 budget as a replacement of the Screen-Based Production Grant. When first announced, the government proposed that the tax credit would cover 22% of production costs for foreign or domestic productions, with a maximum of $10 million per production.

The province’s annual budget for film and television productions is approximately $45 million annually, but will be split due to existing agreements from the Screen-Based Production Grant. More than $33 million will be provided through the grant in 2020/21, with $15 million allocated to the tax credit; those amounts are flipped in 2021/22, with over $16 million given to the leftover grant productions and $30 million for the tax credit, before the $45 million budget fully transitions to the tax credit in 2022/23.

Productions that went to camera during the transition period, March 1, 2019 to Jan. 27, 2020, are eligible to apply for the tax credit until March 31, 2021.

The Screen-Based Production Grant, which was established in 2017, gave a 30% credit for productions in the province, with a cap at $7.5 million and an annual budget of $45 million.

The Film and Television Tax Credit is overseen by the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, who reviews and approves all applications after being evaluated for economic impact and benefit to the film and television industry. Remaining agreements from the grant will be honoured through the Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women ministry.

Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women is also responsible for the Alberta Made Production Grant, which provides up to $125,000 for productions with a budget between $50,000 and $500,000. The annual budget for the grant is $1 million.

To be considered an Alberta-based production, it must have at least one local producer, the copyright is partially or fully held by a local individual or corporation, it must have at least 50% ownership by Alberta-based shareholders and 60% of production costs, or 70% of the total production wages, are spent in Alberta. International treaty coproductions are eligible for the 30% credit as long as they meet the latter two eligibility requirements.

Among the productions ineligible for the tax credit are awards shows, reality television, non-documentary productions that consist of more than 25% of stock footage and productions that are deemed “contrary to public policy,” such as ones that may incite hate or depict cruelty.

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