The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has issued new guidelines on Section 481, the Irish tax incentive for the film, television and animation industry. There are a number of key changes in how to apply for the incentive, together with a new requirement for producers to submit a Skills Development Plan for approval by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland for all projects with eligible expenditure in excess of €2 million.

Producers will now need to set out the estimated number of employees on set likely to be upskilled in the course of the film and submit a Proposed Skills Development Plan to Screen Ireland, which must be agreed in advance with the agency.

The Production Company is responsible for submitting their approved Skills Development Plan to Screen Ireland. Applications will be reviewed by Screen Ireland and Screen Skills Ireland (SSI) and amendments may be requested to the application, especially where specific skills deficits have been identified by the skills audit and industry engagement.

Applications will also require details on gender equality initiatives, diversity and inclusion initiatives together with a sustainability plan. The production company will be required to furnish a full compliance report in order to receive a final compliance certificate to accompany an application for the final 10% of the Tax Credit.

Applications must be made 20 working days prior to making an application to the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for certification under Section 481 Taxes Consolidated Act 1997. Applications should be emailed directly to section481@screenireland.ie

Other changes to the incentive are as follows:

  • The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will now be administering the incentive, with payments still made by the Revenue
  • The producer company must apply to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for a certificate stating that the project is to be treated as a ‘qualifying film’ for the purpose of Section 481
  • This application must be made to the Minister at least 21 working days prior to the commencement of Irish production
  • Where the Minister issues a certificate in relation to a qualifying film and all other provisions of Section 481 are complied with, a producer company may then make a claim for the film corporation tax credit.
  • The system will work on a self-assessment model in which Revenue will no longer issue a certificate indicating the amount of tax credit the production should be entitled to.

We welcome the new changes to the administration of Section 481. The new skills development requirement linked to the tax credit will provide a strong structured basis for the sector to grow and develop in the coming years, focusing on the skills of the individuals working within the industry. The new skills development requirement is wide-ranging and inclusive, covering skills development across all levels of production, focusing on quality over quantity in terms of the outcomes it delivers.

We look forward to working with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who will now be administering the incentive with the Revenue. We also look forward to the expected publication of guidelines on eligible expenditure and PAYE/Schedule D employees from the Revenue, which will help ensure the incentive works more efficiently.
James Hickey, Chief Executive – Screen Ireland

For more information visit https://www.screenireland.ie/filming/section-481

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