Production incentive to continue until December 2015

LONDON — The Irish government is to extend Section 481, its tax relief scheme for film and TV production, until December 2015, Mary Hanafin, minister for tourism, culture and sport, revealed Wednesday.

The scheme, which was due to expire at the end of 2012, offers up to 28% benefit for projects, up to a ceiling of Euros 50 million ($68.3 million) on qualifying expenditure. Irish Film Board chairman, James Morris, said, “The guarantee until 2015 comes at a crucial time, and will ensure stability and certainty for international producers planning to co-produce with Ireland.”

Hanafin said, “It is imperative that we afford this industry a long-term growth perspective and build on the successes to date.”

Fifty-seven projects qualified for the scheme last year, with a combined spend in Ireland of $225 million.

International projects that befitted from the incentive last year included “Camelot,” a miniseries about King Arthur for which Starz holds U.S. rights, and movies “This Must Be the Place,” starring Sean Penn and Frances McDormand, Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire” and “Albert Nobbs,” starring Glenn Close.

Recent Irish features include “The Guard,” starring Brendan Gleeson, and docu “Knuckle,” both of which are screening at the Sundance Film Festival.

The government announced a 3% cut, down to $22 million, to the Irish Film Board budget in December, as part of a program of measures aimed at reducing the country’s budget deficit.

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