Canada's tax credit rate won't go south

11:44 AM PST 02/19/2009 by Etan Vlessing, AP

Will stay at current level as U.S. states weigh reductions

OTTAWA -- The Canadian government said Thursday that it will maintain the federal tax credit for visiting American film and TV producers at its current level, even as cash-strapped border-U.S. states consider pulling or reducing their own tax sweeteners.

"We're keeping the rate as it is," federal heritage minister James Moore said at the Prime Time conference for indie producers in Ottawa

The federal government offers a 16% tax credit to U.S. and other foreign producers that shoot in Canada.

Moore added that Ottawa will not reduce or eliminate the federal production services tax credit for Hollywood producers, which comes on top of complementary provincial tax credits.

Canadian tax credits figure largely when the major studios determine whether to shoot their projects in Los Angeles, elsewhere in the U.S. or abroad.

Moore and other local industry executives have been keen to stress that Canada represents stability to the major studios and their number crunchers, in contrast to border U.S. regions like New York state, which recently ran out of tax credit financing altogether.

Hans Fraikin, Quebec's film commissioner with the Quebec Film and Television Council, said he and other industry executives wondered how New York State and rival border states would fund ambitious tax credits to steer Los Angeles producers away from Canada.

"I think now we're seeing the answers to the questioning we had," Fraikin said.

Stephen Waddell, national executive director of ACTRA, Canada's actors union, added his guild will continue to welcome production to Canada, "where tax credits continue to improve" at the provincial level.
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