Australia’s $1 billion film tax credit: Is it worth it?
- by admin
With the $1.2 billion film credit in place, it is now time for Australia to take action to help other countries recover from the effects of the Great Recession.
The credit, which was announced in the Budget last month, is a $25 billion package of measures designed to provide financial relief to film-makers, and boost employment in film-related industries.
However, as the Australian Financial Services Union pointed out in its submission to the Government last week, the film credit is not intended to fund the full costs of the industry.
Rather, it funds “subsidy programs” that allow filmmakers to avoid paying tax on income earned overseas, and it also helps fund “social impact” projects such as those that support local arts programs.
The Government has been able to offer tax concessions to film producers through the film tax credits since 2012.
Since then, however, Australia has become the first country to introduce a tax credit for domestic films, as well as international films.
The tax credit provides a $250 rebate for the first $1 million of film production costs, and $150 rebate for $250 million or more of production.
It also allows for a tax deduction of up to $10,000 for each $1,000 of production cost.
“There are currently 2,700 domestic film producers and more than 2,400 international film producers in Australia,” the submission states.
According to the ABS, the tax credit “provides a significant tax incentive to the producers of Australian films, especially small and medium-sized producers”.
“It is an incentive that has encouraged many to develop, expand and create a viable domestic film industry.”
While there is a range of different incentives available for Australians to support their film-making, the submission also noted that there are “significant financial benefits” to working with an industry like cinematography, and that this “generates a lot of employment opportunities”.
The submission also pointed out that there was a “lack of diversity” in the industry and that the “majority of Australians who do work in cinematography are not working in film”.
“In addition, a significant number of people who do direct films do not receive any form of financial compensation,” it stated.
“This is particularly true for female cinematographers, as there are no female directors of Australian-based cinematography.”
These inequities persist because the film industry in Australia is largely dominated by white, male and wealthy men, and many of these men do not make a significant amount of money in film.
“Additionally, many cinematographer jobs do not pay the living wage.”
The submission argued that while there was “significant support” for the film production industry in the country, the Government “should also take steps to ensure that there is no financial reward to working in this industry”.
“For example, it would be more beneficial for the Government to consider making the film producer’s tax benefits tax deductible to help to fund other aspects of the film and music industry,” it said.
There is also a $10 million incentive package to help “develop and promote local arts programmes”, with a $3 million donation from the Arts Council of Australia.
“It’s a good thing that the arts community is working together to support local creative industries,” the Submission stated.
While Australia’s Film and Music Industry Association said in a statement that the Government’s decision to increase the tax credits “will have a positive impact on the industry”, it also highlighted the “long term” implications for Australian filmmakers.
“In the medium to long term, it’s likely that this increase in tax credits will drive up the cost of production and cost producers to make films, and may even negatively impact the Australian film industry,” the statement read.
Despite the negative impact, the government has promised to increase its funding for film tax breaks, and said it was considering other options.
Currently, it states that the film credits would be available for productions to make up to two years, but there is an extension for up to four years.
In the meantime, Australia’s film producers are still in the dark about how the Government plans to fund its tax credits, with a spokesperson for the Industry and Arts Union saying the Government was “actively working” to determine the extent to which the tax incentives will be “costly and impactful”.
The industry has said that it will consider the submission from the AFSU, but has also been told that there will be no formal submissions to the Australian Film Institute.
Topics:film-industry,budget,taxation,government-and-politics,economics-and.financial-economics,finance,australiaFirst posted November 18, 2017 19:28:33Contact the author
With the $1.2 billion film credit in place, it is now time for Australia to take action to help other…
- ‘The Bachelor’ cast announces new season, Bachelor in Paradise cast to headline event
- How to watch movies and TV series without losing your mind
- The American Conservatives: The Movie – The Interview – Part 2
- Why we have ‘a cultural moment’ in which we have to ‘go digital’
- Why you should be watching the best movies and TV series in 2018