Ontario sets up $81 mil in tax relief

Aims to increase local production of digital product

TORONTO -- The Ontario government has introduced CAN$100 million ($81 million) in new annual tax relief to boost the local production of digital media product, including movie FX, mobile content and video games.

The latest provincial budget includes a proposal to allow fee-for-service producers to write off all labor expenditures on computer animation and FX work, rather than the current 50%.

That move aims to boost Toronto postproduction and visual effects houses that service an increasing number of international movie and TV co-productions shot abroad and edited locally.

Ontario also said it will make good on an earlier proposal to make its current tax credits permanent: 35% for domestic productions and 25% for foreign.

Other moves by the province include providing the Ontario Media Development Corp., which helps lure Los Angeles producers to shoot locally, with CAN$20 million ($16.2 million) in new funds, and CAN$10 million ($8 million) for a pilot project to support intellectual property production.

Sweetened tax relief for local and foreign producers also comes as a lower Canadian dollar, compared to the American greenback, has spurred a recent rebound in Ontario film and TV production.