Irish investors irked over ‘Spacetruckers’ tax flap

DUBLIN — Sci-fi actioner “Spacetruckers” may have its release blocked by disgruntled Irish investors.

Irish Revenue Commissioners have curbed any tax relief due to some investors, who are now ascertaining whether they can block the pic’s release.

Shot in Ireland between September and December, pic availed of incentives through tax provision Section 35, but ran into problems during pre-production.

Original producer Mary Breen Farrelly had tried, through production company Deadwood II, to raise $11.5 million of the $21 million budget through Section 35. Two weeks before production, only $6.6 million had been raised and government minister Michael Higgins stepped in with a rescue deal.

As part of the new package hammered out between Higgins and other government agencies, new producer Morgan O’Sullivan was installed and the production was completed on schedule, after the bank had raised the balance of the funding.

After investigation, it was discovered that Section 35 regulations had been broken. Although each film is certified for investment in that production alone, $1.4 million of finance raised before the rescue deal had been put into another Farrelly feature, “Driftwood,” which was in post-production at the time. Further finance had been diverted into other projects, including another $400,000 into animation series “The Sign of the Fish.”

The Revenue Commissioners recently decided to take back any tax relief the investors in Deadwood II may have obtained from the production. However, those who invested in the repackaged production will see a return on their investment and the original investors may claim that they were not properly represented at the meeting to implement the new package.

Options open to investors include a legal action against the Minister and the Department or an injunction halting pic’s release.

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