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Ireland has broadened and increased its tax incentives for TV, film and animation projects in an attempt to bring more overseas productions to its shores.
Under the new guidelines, those qualifying as an “eligible individual” under the country’s Section 481 tax rules now include international talent. The broadened terms allow the cost of Hollywood actors, directors and crew working in Ireland to be incorporated in the incentive scheme.
“We previously had limited it to people from the European Union and the European Economic Area, but this was changed,” Irish Film Board CEO James Hickey tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re now effectively the same as in the U.K.”
The new arrangement was formally introduced on Jan. 1, the same day that Ireland’s film and TV tax incentive was raised from 28 percent to 32 percent of the total spend in the country. The scheme has also been extended to 2020.
While the current maximum qualifying expenditure is €50 million ($59.6 million), thus meaning a maximum tax credit of €16 million ($19 million), Hickey says that the government may look to raise this in the future: “It always takes a certain amount of time for the tax incentives to bed in, but the government has said that in time it will be reviewing Section 481 with an eye on the maximum qualifying expenditure.”
The past few years have see Ireland become a major force in international TV productions, with the likes of Vikings, Ripper Street, Penny Dreadful and The Tudors all having moved to the country, pumping millions into the local economy. Hickey also points to significant film productions such as TV spinoff Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, which topped the U.K. and Irish box offices last summer and was wholly shot in Ireland.
“The Irish film and TV production sector supports up to 6,000 jobs,” added the country’s arts minister Heather Humphreys in a statement. “I want to see that number grow in the years ahead. The changes to Section 481 will give a greater deal of certainty to the Irish audiovisual sector and will allow it to maintain the existing jobs in the sector and create new ones.”
Humphries also confirmed a Star Wars: The Force Awakens shoot on a small Irish island last year.
“Ireland has developed a strong reputation as being a superb film location in recent years,” he said. “It was a fantastic achievement to bring Star Wars to Skellig Michael during the summer.”
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