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Producer offset reforms 2011

The Australian Government’s 2011/12 Budget included a number of proposed reforms to the Producer Offset. Legislation to enact the proposed reforms was introduced into Parliament on 22 September 2011 and came into effect following the Royal Assent of the Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No. 7) Act 2011.

An overview of these changes is provided here. Whether they apply to you depends on when your project went into pre-production and, in the case of Screen Australia–funded projects, when the funding was approved. See Do these guidelines apply to you?

Expenditure thresholds

QAPE thresholds were reduced from $1 million to $500,000 for feature films (40% Offset), and also for non-feature single-episode programs including direct-to-DVD films, telemovies, and films made for online distribution (20% Offset). Such films must be at least a commercial hour in length.

An overall QAPE threshold of $500,000 was introduced for documentary projects – whether for series, seasons of series or single-episode programs. Instead of receiving the Offset, eligible documentaries with budgets of $500,000 or less are able to apply for a Producer Equity payment equal to 20% of the budget.

Guidelines for the Producer Equity Program, which is administered by Screen Australia’s Documentary Unit, are available here.

The table below summarises the Producer Offset threshold changes.

Format Minimum total QAPE Minimum QAPE per hour
(ie QAPE / Duration in hours)
Feature film $500,000
(was $1 million)
Single-episode drama $500,000
(was $1 million)
(was $800,000)
Series/Season of a series drama $1 million
Documentary (single-episode or series) $500,000
(no previous threshold)
Short-form animation $250,000
$1 million

QAPE reform

The scope of expenditure that is considered QAPE was broadened. Find out more about these amendments.

For projects with QAPE of under $15 million, the foreign exchange rate as reported in the final cost report is now used when calculating QAPE.

GST is now excluded from QAPE.

Other changes

  • The 65-episode cap was amended to 65 commercial hours rather than 65 episodes.
  • The 20% above-the-line cap was removed for all non-feature documentaries.
  • Short-form animated documentary is now an eligible format.