A final certificate entitles a company to receive the Producer Offset.
Once a project is completed, and audited, you must submit an application form along with all required attachments (including a copy of the completed project and a specified statutory declaration) and in accordance with the instructions on the form. The copy of the project is important for the assessment process, and is covered by the tax secrecy provisions. Applicants should feel free to watermark the film if they wish.
You will also need to lodge expenditure statements attesting to the claimed QAPE of the project. These will include the general ledger, final cost report and a QAPE spreadsheet. A registered company auditor must audit your QAPE claim in accordance with the proforma auditor’s statement.
We aim to assess applications within 12 weeks of receipt of a complete application, including all necessary attachments. An incomplete application will not be assessed. For particularly large or complex applications, assessment may take longer.
In the course of considering an application, Screen Australia will make two legislative determinations:
- Whether to certify the applicant as eligible to receive the Producer Offset in relation to the project (ie issue a final certificate), and
- The level of QAPE (the ATO will calculate the applicant’s offset against the determined amount of QAPE).
You should be prepared for POCU officers or consultants to contact you to ask for further information to substantiate aspects of the application or ask for changes to be made where QAPE has been incorrectly claimed or excluded. We may also request any additional information from an applicant if such information is deemed necessary to undertake an assessment. When this examination relates to interested party transactions, we may seek information on the process and methodologies adopted to show that the amounts charged accord with the 'arm’s length' principle.
We have broad powers under the ITAA to seek information or advice from any person or source in relation to a Producer Offset assessment.
Independent film production consultants
We may seek the advice of an independent film production consultant (IFPC) to assist in assessing the QAPE claim.
The IFPCs contracted by us are highly experienced production managers, line producers and production accountants who are working, or who have previously worked, in the film and television industry. They are used because they possess a deep level of industry knowledge and expertise, and are aware of current prices and rates of goods and services used within the industry.
The IFPC will be subject to a contractual duty of confidentiality, in addition to the tax secrecy obligations outlined in these guidelines. We will consult with the applicant to ensure that there are no conflict-of-interest issues in relation to the IFPC that is proposed.
An IFPC will work under our supervision and represents us in the course of undertaking the QAPE assessment. You must always cooperate with the IFPC’s requests.
We will provide the IFPC’s report to you for your comment. You may provide written submissions to us in response to the report prior to us making a final decision.
Notification, statement of reasons and appeal of decision
When we issue a final certificate to you, you will be notified in writing of the decision and of the formal determination of QAPE.
If we refuse to issue a final certificate, we will notify you in writing of this decision. In addition to our letter of refusal, you can request a formal ‘statement of reasons’ for the decision by Screen Australia under section 28 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, and may seek review of a decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
A statement of reasons or review of a decision may be sought in relation to:
- a decision not to issue a final certificate
- a determination of the amount of QAPE, or
- a decision to revoke a final certificate (see below).
Further information on the AAT’s processes can be found at www.aat.gov.au
Submission to the ATO
We will send a copy of the final certificate to the ATO for its information. You can then claim the Producer Offset in your income tax return for the financial year in which the project was completed, offset against any pre-existing tax liabilities. Further information is available from the ATO website on claiming tax offsets and submission of company tax returns.
Revocation of a final certificate
Screen Australia may revoke a final certificate where it was obtained by fraud or serious misrepresentation, and will notify the applicant company in writing of this decision. Screen Australia can also refer matters of suspected fraud or misrepresentation to the ATO.
The information provided to us (in an application and such other additional information requested by us or an IFPC) may be used for the purposes of considering the revocation of a final certificate.