Thursday, August 03, 2006

Paddington cafes are alive with all kinds of stories some more amazing than others. I rather like the references to Sensational Soy Story

The Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator Rod Kemp, has announced a review of the Government's funding for film production. Mr Kemp said the review will take a broad-ranging look at the effectiveness of current Government direct and indirect support, including film tax incentives.

In releasing an Issues Paper, " Review of Australian Government Film Funding Support ", the Minister said it will investigate options for the most effective ways of improving the long-term viability of the film industry in the future.

In particular, the review will examine the effectiveness and continued appropriateness of different mechanisms of Government support for the industry, including:

* investigating whether, and to what extent, tax incentives and other Government support measures are appropriate and effective in attracting private sector investment to the industry; and

* developing possible options for improving the effectiveness of tax incentives and other government support measures, where necessary.

The review will also take account of the findings of the 2005 review of the Div 10BA and 10B ITAA 1936 tax incentive schemes, which is examining issues relating to the clarity of the operations of these schemes. The findings of the 2006 statutory review of the Refundable Film Tax Offset scheme under s 376-110 of the ITAA 1997 (see2006 WTB 22 [921]) will also be taken into account in this review.

The review is expected to be completed by October 2006.
The Government notes that the current tax incentives designed to increase private investment in film tend to fall into 2 main types:

* tax credits, rebates and refunds to production companies, which operate in a similar manner to the Australian Refundable Film Tax Offset; and

* tax incentives for investors, like Div 10BA of the ITAA 1936, which accelerate deductions.
Where the direct beneficiary of an incentive is a producer, this is classed as a tax incentive for producers. These may be claimable on completion of the film, or a component of the incentive can be provided upfront (eg Div 10BA).

The Government notes that, in some countries, like Australia, a tax incentive for producers is offered principally to attract runaway productions where eligibility criteria are expenditure-based. In other countries, a mixture of direct and indirect support is offered for national product. The Government says this support is provided either solely on cultural criteria or by using a combination of cultural and expenditure criteria.

In relation to the film tax incentives, the Government is seeking specific comments on:
* whether tax incentives are still an effective and appropriate mechanism;
* the appropriateness of the current Div 10BA/10B schemes;
* whether a tax incentive for producers should be considered instead of a tax incentive for investors;
* the criteria which should apply for Australian participation in any incentive scheme; and
* any other models that might be effective in encouraging private investment.
The Issue Paper, " Review of Australian Government Film Funding Support ", July 2006, is available on the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Website [].

Further information can also be obtained from Rhonda Thorpe - tel: (02) 6271 1713; email: []

Submissions on the review are due by 11 August 2006to: Mr Peter Young, General Manager, Film and Digital Content, Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, GPO Box 2154, CANBERRA ACT 2601 - email: []

Source: Minister for the Arts and Sport media release  
RTF version:Review of Australian Government Film Funding Support