Ontario sweetens tax breaks for Hollywood

Tax credit for foreign producers to keep pace with Quebec

TORONTO -- Los Angeles producers shooting in Ontario can now write off 25% of total production expenses beyond labour costs, including equipment and studio rentals.

The province of Ontario on Tuesday said it will amend the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit for foreign producers to keep pace with neighboring Quebec, which announced similar changes to its tax credit system on June 12.

Effective June 30, foreign producers will be able to claim a refundable tax credit equal to 25% of production costs incurred in the province, including labor expenditures.

The Ontario government last February also made permanent its 35% provincial film and TV tax credit for local producers, and its 25% tax break for foreign producers.

The aggressive measures by Ontario and Quebec to woo Hollywood producers comes as the falling value of the U.S. greenback and more lucrative tax breaks on offer in border U.S. states has undermined Canada's competitiveness as a foreign location shooting destination.

British Columbia, a major production center for the major studios, is also looking to follow Quebec and extend its tax breaks for all production expenses.