B.C. Liberals to cut film and TV tax incentives by five percent

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      While Vancouver is one of busiest film centres in North America, that popularity may be affected by the B.C. Liberals' proposed changes to B.C. tax incentives.

      Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced proposed cuts to the B.C. film tax credit rates on May 2 to address the rising cost of the subsidy.

      Under the current rate of 33 percent, the tax credits would cost almost $500 million in 2015-16.

      The basic production services tax credit rate will be lowered from 33 percent to 28 percent. The digital animation or visual effects tax credit rate will decrease from 17.5 to 16 percent.

      A transitional period will be provided investments already planned. For example, television series that begin prior to October 1 will be allowed to continue at the current rates.

      The proposed changes will begin on or after October 1, if approved by the legislature.

      A number of other factors influence B.C. as a destination for foreign screen productions, including the Canadian dollar, shooting locations, proximity to Hollywood, and competition from other jurisdictions.

      Ontario's film tax credit rate is 35 percent while Quebec's is 28 percent.

      Foreign film and TV productions make up about 80 percent of all production spending in B.C.

      Industry spending on both foreign and domestic productions that qualify for the production services tax credit between 2012-13 and 2014-15 was about $2 billion.

      Deadpool, starring Vancouver's Ryan Reynolds, spent over $40 million filming in B.C. in 2015 while ABC's fantasy series Once Upon a Time, which shoots in Steveston, spent $276 million in B.C. over the past five seasons of its production.

      Other productions being shot in B.C. include Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey; the big-screen adaptation of the Power Rangers; and the Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

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