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Posted: Tue., Aug. 5, 2003, 5:09pm PT
 
Oz study bucks Canucks for pic play
Down Under offers 12.5% tax credit to feature films

By DON GROVES


SYDNEY-- It costs 7.5% less to shoot a medium-budgeted film in Australia than in Canada, according to a new report commissioned by the Oz government.

"The report counters the myth that it is cheaper for U.S. filmmakers to make films in Canada," Arts Minister Rod Kemp said Tuesday.

The government asked for the study after Canada upped its incentives for offshore productions. Kemp was keen to prove the 12.5% tax credit for films lensed Down Under is still more attractive than Canada's concessions.

The report by Moneypenny Business and Taxation Services compares the costs of shooting a $25 million pic in Vancouver B.C. and Sydney.

It found the net cost would be $19.6 million in Sydney vs. $21.2 million in Vancouver, a saving of $1.6 million, or 7.5%. The Aussie tax credit would rep 10.4% of the budget vs. 7.14% for Canada's.

"Once a project qualifies for the Australian rebate, the larger the budget, the greater the advantage over Canada, particularly when there is an increase in the dollar value of the U.S. above-the-line personnel providing their services in Australia or if post production activity is also undertaken locally," it said.

No credits for skeins

The report noted Canada increases the value of provincial and federal rebates for co-productions, which can make Canada a better partner than Australia. It said Australia should consider offering a higher percentage for its federal and state tax credits for co-prods and higher-budget national films.

However, Aussie industryites were disappointed Kemp made no mention of the concerted industry campaign to have the tax credit extended to international TV series that shoot here.

Many execs say Australia will not be able to compete with Canada and other countries for series until the rebate is applied to TV.

 

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