Hot on the heels of a hike in the federal production labour-based tax credit, the Canadian province of British Columbia has sweetened its own tax credit lure.

The British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC), which offers an 11% rebate on eligible labour costs in the province, will now include a digital animation or visual effects tax credit, wherein producers can claim 15% of labour costs incurred in producing digital images for film and television productions.

In addition, productions shooting outside of the Vancouver area will be eligible for a further credit of 6% on labour expenses incurred if that shooting represents more than 50% of total days of principal photography in the province.

British Columbia has seen a marked decline in foreign location shooting - down last year by an estimated 20% to 30% -- and is clearly taking steps to reverse the trend.

On Tuesday, the Canadian government announced it would increase its labour-based tax credit 45%, from 11% to 16%. A foreign film that shoots entirely within BC could tap each of these credits as well as the federal one and receive a minimum reimbursement of 27% on labour costs.

The province is also buffing up its tax credit for BC-based filmmakers. The Film Incentive BC (FIBC) program, which offers a base 20% credit on labour, will now include the 15% digital animation or visual effects tax credit and relaxes the time requirements for its 12.5% regional production tax credit from 85% of shooting days to 50%.

Both the PSTC and FIBC programmes have been extended until 2008. The new guidelines will apply to productions where principal photography begins after May 31, 2003.

A note to keen co-producers: productions cannot access both credits.