B.C. movie tax breaks under scrutiny

Finance Minister Mike de Jong says low Canadian dollar accelerating cost of generous labour tax credit for film and TV production

B.C.’s tax credits to the movie industry are rising rapidly as the low Canadian dollar attracts more productions to the province, and Finance Minister Mike de Jong has ordered a review.

“The sector is having a record-breaking year and that’s all good news for the people involved,” de Jong said. “But the way the tax credit is structured, we see the amount being paid out increasing exponentially. It’s set to cross the half billion-dollar mark.”

The review is to take place within the next two months, including consultation with B.C. production companies. B.C. offers a refundable tax credit for one third of labour costs for movies, TV and digital media production.

The current box-office hit Deadpool is the latest of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men series to be filmed in B.C. An earlier movie in the series was lured to Montreal by generous tax incentives, and Ontario extended its tax credits to cover 25 per cent of all spending on a project.

Most of B.C.’s industry is foreign productions, taking advantage of experienced crews, scenic locations and easy access from Hollywood. De Jong said in 2013 that Canadian provinces are “being played” by producers looking to increase tax breaks by threatening to go elsewhere.

 

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