Italy Raises Production Tax Credits

Dario Franceschini, Italian Minister of Heritage and Cultural Activities.
Dario Franceschini, Italian Minister of Heritage and Cultural Activities.
 AP Images

ROME – The Italian senate passed a bill this week underlining the government’s renewed interest in culture and tourism. The bill proposed by the Minister of Heritage and Cultural Activities, Dario Franceschini, aims to breathe new life into Italy’s cultural industries.

Within the bill, there are key tax measures that will directly benefit Italy’s film industry. The most eye-catching element designed to attract foreign film production in Italy was an increase in the the tax credit ceiling for Italian production companies rising from $6.7 million to $13 million (5 million to 10 million euros). The increases will kick in at the start of 2015, and will not affect individual films but benefit the Italian production company for each tax period.

The second key element was the overall tax credit for the cinema and audiovisual industry increasing from $147 million to $154 million (110 to 115 million euros) from 2015.

Also included in the law is a tax credit of 30% of the costs incurred for restoration or improvement of small cinemas in Italy, either for those already in existence or for those now closed. Rome, which used to be a capital for independent cinemas, has seen the majority of its top art house theaters shutter in the past decade.

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While not a seismic policy shift, the rising levels of tax credits represents a positive path for Italy’s film industry, which has failed to make any major adjustments to its tax regime in recent years. “Now there are no more excuses: we come from years of cuts, now is the time to invest,” said Franceschini.

Elsewhere in the cultural bill, there was tax credit of 65% for donations to the maintenance or restoration of cultural goods, museums, archeological sites and public archives. Tax credits will also be offered for those investing in the technological advancements of the tourism industry, something greatly needed throughout the country. And special provisions have been made to improve major cultural sites in Italy, in Pompeii, the Royal Palace of Caserta, and the Rome Opera House.

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