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An eligible project must be of a minimum duration and incur a minimum level of qualifying Australian production expenditure (QAPE), depending on the format.

QAPE and duration thresholds

All formats must meet or exceed a ‘total QAPE’ threshold with some formats also required to meet a ‘per hour’ QAPE threshold.

The ‘per hour’ QAPE is calculated by dividing the total QAPE of the project by its actual duration in hours (for series, the total duration = the number of episodes x the actual duration of each episode, expressed in hours).

Format Minimum duration ‘Total’ QAPE threshold ‘Per hour’ QAPE threshold
Feature films, including theatrical documentaries, animation and IMAX (offset=40%)
Feature 80 mins $500,000 n/a
Large format (e.g. IMAX) 45 mins $500,000 n/a
Non-feature programs other than documentaries or animations (offset=20%)
Single-episode Commercial hour $500,000 n/a
Season of a series (at least 2 episodes) Commercial ½ hour per episode $1,000,000 $500,000 per actual hour
Non-feature documentaries (offset=20%)
Single-episode or season of a series Commercial ½ hour per episode $500,000 $250,000 per actual hour
Non-feature animation (offset=20%)
Season of a series (at least 2 episodes) Commercial ¼ hour per episode $1,000,000 $500,000 per actual hour
Single-episode Commercial hour $500,000 n/a
Or, if the project is not a season of a series or single episode:
Short-form animation (single episode or series) Commercial ¼ hour in total $250,000 $1,000,000 per actual hour

The QAPE spreadsheet, which must be lodged with all applications, will automatically calculate whether your project meets the QAPE thresholds.

For the purposes of meeting the QAPE thresholds, the ITAA allows official co-productions to count expenditure incurred in the co-producing country by its co-producer that would have been QAPE if it had been incurred in Australia. This applies only to official co-productions and only to meeting the thresholds for eligibility.

Ineligible formats

The following formats are ineligible for the Producer Offset:

  • an advertising program or commercial
  • a discussion, quiz, panel or game show*, or variety program, or a program of a like nature
  • a film of a public event
  • a training film
  • a news or current affairs program
  • a reality TV program (other than a documentary - section 376-25 of the ITAA gives the meaning of documentary),  or
  • a computer game within the meaning of Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995.

* Game shows were added to the list of ineligible formats by the Tax and Superannuation Amendment (2013 Measures No. 2) Act 2013, for projects which commenced principal photography on or after 28 June 2013.

Administration of the format tests

In most cases, the completed Producer Offset application form and its attachments should provide enough information for Screen Australia to make a decision on format questions.

However, where there is uncertainty, we may require more information, and may also ask you to provide a submission as to how the project, for example, is a documentary or has a new creative concept.

If you foresee a format issue arising, you should append a statement to the application addressing the relevant test, and attach any additional supporting material. This will speed up the assessment process.

Please note that eligibility for the Producer Offset is dependent on being issued with a final certificate. For example, if a project is provisionally certified as a feature film and the completed project is not in fact a feature film, we will not be able to issue a final certificate for a feature film. Similarly if the film is provisionally certified as a documentary but the completed film does not meet the legislative requirements for a documentary, and is instead a non-eligible format, we cannot issue a final certificate for the film.