You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Morocco Approves 20% Cash Rebate For Foreign Shoots

New measure expected to more than double filming in kingdom

Less than a week after the 15th Marrakech Film Festival, Morocco’s parliament has approved a new 2016 Finance Law that includes a new 20% cash rebate scheme for foreign shoots.

The final text will enter into force on March 31. The new Moroccan cashback mechanism offers a 20% cash rebate on all eligible spend in Morocco, provided that there is at least 10 million Moroccan dirham ($1 million) of eligible expenditure in Morocco and at least 18 days work – including set-building and/or the shoot. Given this, a production with only a six-day shoot but which also involves 12 days of set building can still qualify. General pre-production activity, such as location scouting, does not count for qualification.

Sarim Fassi Fihri, the president of the Moroccan Cinema Center (CCM) who has lobbied for this new scheme since taking office in late 2014, told Variety he was “delighted” by the parliament’s decision to adopt his proposal.

According to Fassi Fihri, the new scheme was partly inspired by the 15% cash rebate scheme currently in force in South Africa.

The CCM prexy maintained that it is essential to introduce a competitive tax incentive in Morocco, given that the introduction of schemes in countries such as France and Belgium has reduced the number of shoots from these countries in Morocco.

Morocco is consistently voted as one of filmmakers’ favorite foreign locations. In 2014, it saw a major hike in foreign productions, hosting titles such as “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.” In 2015, 21 feature films and 16 TV series have lensed to date in the kingdom. Recent U.S. shoots include Todd Philips’ black comedy “Arms and the Dudes,” Larry Charles’ comedy “Army of One,” Alexandre Moors’ Iraq War drama “The Yellow Bird,” and Ian Olds’ drama “The Fixer.”

In the build-up to the introduction of the new scheme, Morocco has introduced a tighter control of real production spend, based on controlling bank accounts associated to shoots. Measure has had a significant impact on reported film spend – the official amount in 2014 was $110 million, but under the new rules is likely to be only $40 million for 2015, which according to Fassi Fihri, greatly overplays the true difference in year-on-year expenditure.

Amine Tazi, producer at CLA Studios, has confirmed that 2015 was not as good as 2‎014 but Morocco still hosted very interesting projects, especially in Marrakech and Ouarzazate. Even without the new scheme, Tazi forecasts that 2016 is likely to be as good, if not better, than 2014.

In early December, the first draft of the tax scheme was overturned in the Moroccan parliament, because it applied to both domestic and foreign productions. Under the finally approved scheme, only foreign productions will be eligible.

Fassi Fihri believes that the new scheme will reinforce Morocco’s position as a key foreign location and intensify investments in the country’s studio and locations infrastructures. He predicts that total annual spend could triple over the coming years.

More TV

  • Writers Guild Posts Scathing Video Attack

    Writers Guild Posts Scathing Video Attack on Agency Packaging

    The Writers Guild of America, which is threatening to require members to fire their agents, has posted a scathing video attacking how major agencies conduct packaging. Titled “Agency Conflicts of Interest,” the video explains that compensation for writers has declined by 23% between 2014 and 2016 and blames the agencies for taking packaging fees on [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Million Dollar Mile'

    TV News Roundup: 'Million Dollar Mile' Debuts Exclusive First Look

    In today’s roundup, “Million Dollar Mile” releases an exclusive clip and CBS announces premiere dates for three shows.  DATES CBS has announced premiere dates for one new series and two returning series. The new action adventure series “Blood and Treasure” will debut with a two-hour episode Tuesday, May 21 at 9 p.m. right after the [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Threatening to Throw 'Industry Into Chaos'

    UPDATE – The dealmakers appear to be getting nowhere. Negotiators for Hollywood agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved little progress at their seventh session on Tuesday, with a chaotic scenario looming on April 7. “When Guild leadership is ready to move on from their declared threatening phase, we stand ready to work [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Assessing 'Empire' Options After Jussie Smollett Charges Dropped

    The shocking Jussie Smollett saga took another twist on Tuesday after prosecutors announced they have dropped all charges against the “Empire” star. Smollett had been indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report, but now that those counts have all disappeared, studio 20th Century Fox finds itself in a sticky situation as to [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Legal Drama Eclipses the Rest of His Story (Column)

    Like so many other stories these days, the Jussie Smollett legal saga seemed governed not by coherent logic, but by chaos, and, in its absence of narrative, invites any observer to find in it the story they prefer hearing. Smollett, the “Empire” star who had been in legal jeopardy due to allegations of staging a [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content