Producer Guidelines for Canadian Content Tax Credits
22 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2010
Date Written: December 4, 2009
The government of Canada provides financial support for a movie filmed in Canada but it provides even greater tax incentives if the movie qualifies as a Canadian content production.
Canadian content for tax credit purposes is regulated by the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO), a branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), who jointly administer the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program (CPTC) and the Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit Program (PSTC). Only one of these tax credits may be claimed for a particular production.
Canadian content for broadcast purposes is regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) reviews the government guidelines and provides advice on topics regarding the film and television industry. The CPTC Guidelines set out the requirements for qualifying for Canadian content tax credits for films.
The focus of this essay is on Appendix I of the CPTC Guidelines, the CAVCO Producer Control Guidelines, and specifically the requirement that the Canadian producer have 100% copyright ownership for at least 25 years. The three issues arising from this requirement are less investment opportunities for producers, an incongruity between CAVCO and CRTC guidelines and government goals.
Finally, the first two problems are the result of the CAVCO Producer Control Guidelines not only being very strict but also being just a formality. I argue that 100% copyright ownership should not be a requirement of qualifying for Canadian content tax credits for films, or that the 25-year condition should be lowered, or both.
Keywords: Canadian entertainment law, Canadian content, CAVCO, CRA, CPTC, PSTC, CRTC, CFTPA, copyright ownership for films
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