Ontario makes tax credits permanent

Province raised credit to 25% last year

OTTAWA -- In the latest tit-for-tat move to entice Los Angeles producers to Canada, the Ontario provincial government said Friday that it will make its movie and TV tax credits permanent.

The decision follows California on Thursday approving tax credits for film and TV shows, capped at $500 million over five years.

Also Thursday, the federal government in Ottawa pledged to maintain the federal tax credit for visiting American film and TV producers at its current level, even as cash-strapped border-U.S. states consider pulling or reducing their own tax sweeteners.

"In these challenging times, making these enhanced film tax credits permanent would help keep the cameras rolling in Ontario and attract even more projects to Ontario," provincial finance minister Dwight Duncan said Friday.

Ontario last year raised its tax credit for foreign producers from 18% to 25%.

The province also in 2008 handed out about $165 million in tax support to American and local producers as it fends off competition with border states such as New York, Michigan and Connecticut.

The California movie and TV tax credits, while less generous than those on offer in Canada and rival U.S. states, are sufficient to repatriate projects back to Los Angeles, Canadian studio operators and other industry players conceded Friday.

At stake for Canada and rival locales are about 16 TV pilots scouting North America for the best tax incentives to shoot locally.
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