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France set to boost film tax incentives

Ceiling on Tax Rebate for International Production (TRIP) could rise $12.9 m (€10m) from $5.1m (€4m).

French deputies have approved a motion to boost France’s tax incentives aimed at both the local and international film industries.

Modifications approved in Friday’s Lower House vote included raising the maximum benefit from the Tax Rebate for International Production (TRIP) aimed at foreign productions shooting in France.

Under the changes, the ceiling on the tax incentive, offering a 20% rebate on French costs to international film productions spending at least one million Euros in France, will rise to $12.9m (€10m) from $5.1m (€4m).

In another significant modification, accommodation has been added to the list of eligible expenses.

“This is an important development, previously accommodation was not included in TRIP but hotels are a big expense for visiting productions,” said Patrick Lamassoure, head of Film France, the French agency promoting the country as a shooting location.

Increasing the ceiling, noted Lamassoure, would make the TRIP more attractive to international productions with budgets up to $64m (€50m), rather than up to $25m (€20m) as is currently the case.

SInce the introduction of the TRIP at the beginning of 2009, 53 productions have used the incentive for an overall spend in France of $314m (€243m).

All the changes now have to be approved by French senators in the Upper House and then the European Commission. A senate vote is expected in the coming week.

EC approval could take many months but Friday’s Lower House approval is a significant move towards France bolstering its film tax rebate system.

The motion also included changes to France’s tax rebate aimed at local film productions, raising the ceiling to $5.1m (€4m) from $1.2 (€1m).

The change is aimed at enticing France’s bigger budget productions back home. Some 70% of France’s bigger budget productions - over $12.9m (€10m) - currently shoot in other European territories, drawn by more attractive tax incentives elsewhere.

The French film industry has been lobbying hard for an increase in the ceilings for the TRIP and the local tax rebate over the past year.

Friday’s vote also included a key modification to the incentive for television production, making non-French language television series produced by French companies eligible for the rebate - which stands at roughly 20% of costs in France.

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