Australian Screen Production Incentive
The Australian Screen Production Incentive is the Australian Government's primary mechanism of supporting film and television production.
It provides generous tax incentives for film, television and other screen production in Australia and is available in three streams:
- Producer Offset—to encourage the production of Australian film and television projects. For information on this offset visit Screen Australia which administers this scheme.
- Location Offset—a 16.5 per cent rebate which supports the production of large-budget film and television projects shot in Australia.
- PDV Offset—a 30 per cent rebate which supports work on post, digital and visual effects production (PDV) in Australia, regardless of where a project is shot.
Location and PDV Offsets
The Location and PDV Offsets are administered by the Ministry for the Arts. Applicants for these offsets must apply for a certificate of eligibility, which is issued by the Minister for the Arts.
To obtain the certificate applicants must first read the guidelines for the offsets, and fill out the application forms. All are available below.
- Location and PDV Offsets guidelines and application forms
- Location and PDV Offsets fact sheet (PDF 483 kB)
- Location and PDV Offsets fact sheet (DOC 55 kB)
The Ministry for the Arts is currently updating the guidelines to reflect the 2011 legislative amendments. The most significant changes are included in the fact sheet.
Applicants are encouraged to speak to a member of the Location and PDV Offset Team if they have any questions about their project's eligibility or the application process.
A certificate is provided to the Australian Taxation Office with the applicant's tax return and the offset amount is paid out less any existing tax liabilities.
At any time before or during production, an applicant can apply for a provisional certificate, which provides guidance as to whether a film is likely to qualify. A provisional certificate does not guarantee eligibility, nor does it bind the Minister in considering an application for a final certificate.
Changes to the Location and PDV Offsets
The Australian Government announced two changes to the offsets in the 2010–11 Budget. These are:
- Reducing the minimum qualifying expenditure threshold for the PDV Offset from $5 million to $500,000.
- Removing the requirement for productions spending between $15 million and $50 million in Australia to spend at least 70 per cent of the total production budget in Australia in order to qualify for the Location Offset.
The necessary legislative amendments came into effect on 29 June 2011. Updated Location and PDV Offsets guidelines and application forms are now available on this website.
The changes will be backdated to apply from 1 July 2010. Specifically, the change to the PDV Offset applies to PDV work that commenced in Australia on or after 1 July 2010, and the change to the Location Offset applies to films commencing principal photography or production of the animated image in Australia on or after 1 July 2010. If your production commenced prior to 1 July 2010, you should contact the offsets team for assistance.
Changes to the Location and PDV Offsets were also announced in the 2011–12 Budget. These are:
- Increasing the PDV Offset to 30 per cent.
- Increasing the Location Offset to 16.5 per cent.
- Allowing additional expenditure on audit, legal, insurance and company fees to count as qualifying Australian production expenditure under the offsets.
The legislative amendments required to bring these changes into effect was passed by the Australian Parliament on 21 November 2011.
The changes are relevant for Location Offset productions commencing in Australia on or after 10 May 2011 and for the PDV Offset, for PDV work commencing in Australia on or after 1 July 2011. The Location and PDV Offset Guidelines will be updated to reflect the changes. If you have any queries, please contact the Ministry for the Arts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legislation and the incentives
The Australian Screen Production Incentive is enabled by Division 376 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA), which are available from ComLaw.
Legislative instruments made by the Arts Minister are also available from ComLaw:
EFIC's Producer Offset loan
Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), the Australian Government's export credit agency, can help finance eligible Australian film, documentary and television productions that have international distribution agreements with its Producer Offset loan.
EFIC's Producer Offset loan complements the Australian Government's Producer Offset incentive, which provides tax rebates for producers of Australian feature films, television and other projects.
For more information go to Producer Offset loan—Australian Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. Please note, EFIC does not provide loans for productions seeking to access either the Location or PDV Offset.