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Spain Considers TV Tax to Help Local Film Industry

The proposed tax, of up to $13 a year per household, would go to finance features that shoot in the region.

MADRID – With government subsidies nearly exhausted and box office draw down due to a recent tax increase, the government of Spain's Catalan region is looking at alternatives for financing Catalan cinema.

One proposal under consideration is for a new TV tax, the revenues from which would go to finance films where more than half of the production is based in Catalonia.

Catalan's regional film academy submitted the proposal and the region's cultural department is currently considering it.

A spokesperson for Catalonia's culture department said it was too early to talk about details because the tax is one of many ideas being discussed, but film academy president Isona Passola estimated that such a tax might cost between $8-$13 (€6-€10) per household per year.

Some 34 features and 15 documentaries are set to shoot in the Catalonian region this year. The vast majority are low budget. Only six features have budgets of more than €1 million ($1.3 million).

“We are analyzing all of the possible mechanisms to finance culture,” the head of the culture department, Ferran Mascarell, told journalists on Wednesday. Fewer government subsidies, he added, “is a reality on an
international level, not only on a Catalan or Spanish one, and it forces us to rethink ways to finance the cultural sector.”

In a poll on newspaper La Vanguardia's website, around 90 percent of the 5,000 people who participated rejected the idea of a television tax.