Hungary gets EU OK on tax breaks

Law offers up to 25% cash back to int'l prods

Hungary’s film law, which offers some of Europe’s most generous tax incentives, is back on track after amendments bringing it into line with European Union laws were approved Wednesday, according to sources in Budapest.

The law giving tax breaks of up to 20% on local spend — introduced four years ago — ran into problems when EU bureaucrats said it did not comply with cultural content rules.

Hungary’s parliament passed an amended version of the law in June that put greater emphasis on supporting films with local or European cultural topics or adapted regional literary works.

The EU approved those changes Wednesday, according to Daniel Kresmery, a spokesman at Korda Studios, Hungary’s newest filmmaking facility, where Universal’s “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” lensed.

“A formal announcement is due next week, but sources in Brussels have confirmed that the modified law has been approved,” Kresmery told Daily Variety.

The new law will now offer up to 25% cash back to international productions filming in Hungary and is guaranteed until 2012, Kresmery said.

In the early version of the law, tax incentives of up to 20% were open to all productions shooting in Hungary. The new version has a higher ceiling but tougher criteria for approval.

Kresmery said the amended law is good news for Korda, which has just opened its fifth soundstage. In December it will open what it believes is the world’s largest soundstage, a massive 64,500-square-foot space with a clear height of 68 feet.

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