Aussie tube groove

Oz extends tax rebate to include skeins

The Oz government is luring foreign TV projects to its shores by extending the 12.5% refundable tax rebate to include major television series.

Originally introduced for features, made-fors and miniseries, the initiative pays a rebate on production costs on all goods and services, including cast and crew costs, in Oz.

It has already attracted big-budget pics including Warner Bros.’ “Superman Returns” and Sony Pictures’ “Ghost Rider.”

To qualify, TV shows must spend A$15 million ($11.3 million) in the country and have a qualifying spend of at least $750,000 an hour. For productions with budgets between $11.3 million-$37.5 million, 70% of the expenditure must be in Oz.

Geoff Brown, topper of the Screen Producers Assn. of Australia, welcomed the extension but said it didn’t go far enough.

“The bigger issue for the production industry is to allow movies of the week to be bundled to qualify for the $11.3 million minimum,” Brown said. “It has included series; now it is time to take the next step.”

Brown also expressed frustration over the fact that the extension was designed only to help draw in overseas productions and would “have very little domestic impact.”

To aid local production, Brown suggests lowering the qualifying spend for homegrown series to $375,000 an hour.

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