Cinecitta chief talks tax breaks

Studios' Abete says cheaper locations threaten Rome biz

Cinecitta Studios prexy Luigi Abete is lobbying for tax breaks for foreign film producers who shoot in Italy to stop them decamping to cheaper locations in Eastern Europe.

Abete said he would bring the matter directly to Italy’s culture minister, Francesco Rutelli. His first goal is reform of the European Union-imposed value added tax.

Non-EU film production teams qualify to get the tax rebated, which in Italy amounts to a 20% payback. But it can take years before the money is reimbursed.

“I suggest Minister Rutelli remove the VAT imposed on foreign producers. Today, if they shoot with us, they have the right to reimbursement, but only after years. We’re talking about millions of euros,” Abete was quoted as saying in Vanity Fair.

“I do not expect to introduce the fiscal incentives that other countries offer, but at least it sends a signal and grabs the attention of international producers,” he added.

Securing tax breaks beyond expediting VAT delays is a tall order in Italy. The government perpetually runs a deficit, and the Culture Ministry has been stingier with state aid for cultural foundations and productions.

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