SA drops cap on foreign film tax return

2011-10-13 07:18
Cape Town – South Africa has done away with a cap on its film rebate scheme which will make it easier for big budget productions - both local and international - to shoot in the country, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

In the past, South Africa’s tax rebate program had been restricted to R20m per project. However, the new program ensures that there will be no limit on the tax refunds productions can claim. The new scheme has been in effect since the start of October. Any international production that qualifies for the scheme can claim the 15% tax rebate on the entire local spend for its South African shoot.

Last year, the tax rebate cap was increased due to demand from international companies who wanted to shoot more material in the country. The 3D live action film Dredd starring Karl Urban and Lena Heady, ushered in a new era of foreign film production in South Africa. Shooting of DNA films’ reboot of the 1995 sci-fi thriller took place at the new Cape town Film Studios, and it is estimated that the production spent close to R157 822 000 locally.

Requirements to qualify

Foreign productions will still need to qualify for the tax reimbursement by adhering to a list of requirements. A foreign production must shoot in South Africa for a minimum of four weeks so that at least half of the film's principle photography makes up the final product. A minimum spend of R12m has been set in place for foreign productions including feature films, mini-series, TV-movies, documentaries, long-running dramas and animation.

South African films, however, have been set lower standards in order to qualify and will also receive a bigger tax return than their foreign counterparts.

British comedian and actor Stephen Fry was in Cape Town earlier this year to film the movie The Borrowers and noted that he was "deeply impressed" with Cape Town Studios where filming took place.

Other foreign films that have recently shot in South Africa include Winnie starring Jennifer Hudson and Safe House starring Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington.

The latest project to be confirmed for shooting in South Africa is the next James Bond instalment titled Bond 23.