PWC report calls for lifting of €70m per project cap under tax credit regime

The Irish Times || Published Thursday, Mar 12, 2020 || Peter Hamilton

The State should consider lifting the €70 million project cap required for a tax credit for film and TV production in an effort to incentivise major global productions to film here, a report prepared for sector argues.

The report, compiled by PWC on behalf of Troy Studios and Ardmore Studios, outlines some barriers to delivering further success in the sector and argues for increasing the current €70 million per project cap, “which is less than other competing countries and disincentivises major global productions from selecting Ireland for production”.

The section 481 tax break regime is a tax credit to incentivise film, TV, animation and creative documentary production in the Republic.

The report argues that the State benefits considerably from providing this tax break, which allows productions to get a tax credit for up to 32 per cent of expenditure on all cast and crew and all goods and services sourced here. It says that the exchequer receives a 3.5 to one return on the section 481 investment.

“Crucially, this report shows us that without the section 481 incentive, production activity would not have taken place, and so the economic benefits to the Irish economy would not have materialised,” said Siún Ní Raghallaigh, chief executive of Troy Studios and Ardmore Studios.

Intellectual property

She added that the creation of the State’s own intellectual property is the sector’s long-term objective and that vision sits alongside “Government ambition to increase the scale of the sector to a point where we will double employment to 24,000 people employed, delivering a gross value added of some €1.4 billion”.

The report, which was also supported by Screen Ireland, Screen Producers Ireland, Animation Ireland and Ibec’s Audiovisual Ireland, analysed a representative sample of nine film and TV productions, finding that their total economic contribution was more than €155 million.

Between 2015 and 2018, the credit was applied to 337 productions with two thirds receiving a tax credit of less than €500,000 and 18 qualifying for more than €2 million.

Creative documentaries accounted for 94 of the 337 productions while feature films (79), television drama (56) and animation (49) followed.

The report notes that global demand in the sector is set to grow by 30 per cent over the coming five years, “and Ireland is poised and ready to take best advantage of this growth”.