Province increases tax credit for foreign filming

MONTREAL — Just days after Ontario increased its tax credit for foreign filming, the neighboring province of Quebec has followed suit in order to remain competitive. Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jerome-Forget announced late Thursday in Quebec City that the provincial government is increasing the tax credit for foreign productions from 20 percent to 25 percent of labor expenditures. On Dec. 13, Ontario increased its tax credit for foreign filming from 18 to 25 percent of labor expenses. The third main production center in Canada, the west coast province of British Columbia, is expected to announce a similar tax credit increase shortly.

Hans Fraikin, the film commissioner at the Quebec Film and Television Council, said the Quebec government quickly responded when industry players began lobbying ministers last week following the Ontario increase.

“The government immediately understood what was at stake,” said Fraikin. “For Quebec, it was crucially important because it puts us at a competitive level. Producers told me they had projects for next year and they were going to go to Toronto.”

The Quebec government also made its incentives for green-screen visual effects work more attractive. The tax credit remains at 20 percent but it will no longer be decreased based on what percentage of the film is made up of visual effects. In the past, if only half the film was created with visual effects, the rate would drop from 20 to 10 percent. Quebec had been losing films to British Columbia, including “Night at the Museum” sequel “Another Night”, because British Columbia used to have a more attractive visual effects tax credit. Now both provinces have similar effects credits.

The two provinces are increasing their tax credits because the service industry is likely going to be hit hard by the rising Canadian dollar, which is expected to scare away American producers in the coming months.

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