Quebec Report Recommends Phasing Out Foreign Film Incentives

by Etan Vlessing

A panel investigating Quebec’s tax system has recommended phasing out the Canadian province’s foreign film tax credit between 2020 and 2023 to achieve budget savings.

The non-binding proposal from the Godbout Commission to end a tax incentive to attract Hollywood to Montreal for location shoots comes despite a falling Canadian dollar that is pointing to a busy 2015 for film and TV productions. The provincial taxation review committee, led by Luc Godbout, urged lawmakers to scrap the Quebec Production Services Tax Credit, arguing that foreign producers’ shoots, which happen mostly in Montreal, offer no cultural benefits for the French-speaking province.

Pierre Even, a partner at Montreal-based indie producer Item 7, told The Hollywood Reporter he expects the Quebec government to reject phasing out the foreign film tax credit because of the benefits it brings to talent and technical crews at work on local productions. “With service production, a lot of Quebec technicians learn new tricks when you can work with a lot of money, and they bring that know-how back when they work on local films,” Even said.

“It’s not something you can isolate. If service production is lost to the Quebec industry, we will lose technicians and know-how we can now profit from,” he added. Talk of scrapping the foreign film tax credit follows Montreal recently playing host to Hollywood movie shoots such as Robert Zemeckis‘ The WalkRoland Emmerich‘s Stonewall, a $20 million indie about the historic Greenwich Village riot; and Edward Zwick‘s Pawn Sacrifice, the Bobby Fischer chess pic starring Tobey Maguire.

Neighboring Ontario, despite enjoying its own production boom, has also put its film, TV and digital tax credits under a microscope to find $30 million in budgetary savings in each of the next two years.

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