The South African Government has introduced a Large Budget Film and Television Production Rebate Scheme (“the rebate”) whereby an eligible applicant will be rebated a sum totalling 15 per cent for foreign productions or 25 per cent for qualifying South African Productions including official co-productions of the Qualifying South Africa Production Expenditure (“QSAPE”) that the applicant has spent on an eligible film production. A finite sum has been allocated over an initial three-year period. The maximum rebate for each project will be R10 million in order to attract an optimum number of productions.
The objective is to provide an additional financial incentive for the production of both foreign and domestic large budget film and television projects in South Africa. In establishing the rebate, the Government recognises that large budget film productions contribute to South Africa’s economic development and international profile by providing valuable economic, employment and skill development opportunities for the South African film production industry. The rebate will ensure that South Africa remains competitive in attracting large budget film productions from abroad. These guidelines set out the eligibility rules for the rebate and outline the process involved in applying. The rules may be subject to change from time to time.
A successful provisional application will depend on the availability of funds. Before making an application, applicants should check with the South African Department of Trade and Industry (“the dti”), which administers the rebate. If a provisional certificate has been issued the funds will be reserved to fulfil a successful final application. The issuing of a provisional or final certificate is at the discretion of the dti panel and the decision of the panel is final. The rebate is tax exempt for the purposes of income tax. The Departments of Trade and Industry, Arts and Culture and Communication have jointly formulated a strategy to develop the content industries. The collaborative effort is recognition that the content industries are a concurrent competency between the three government departments. In particular, content constitutes cultural artefact, a tradeable commodity as well as a medium for television programmes, cinema, animation, video, electronic games and any other audio-visual mode of packaging. The relevance, interest and role of the three departments are self evident given this perspective.
This submission was informed by consultations with The National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) that has been engaging the industry about the future direction of the film and television content industry since 1999. It was also informed by consultations with the South African Revenue Services about the existing tax incentives regime available for the content industries as well as the South African Programme Production and Digital Broadcast Advisory Body Reports that were presented to Cabinet in 2002 (refer to paragraph 3.5.19 of the minutes of the Cabinet dated 4 December 2002).