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Podcast – Producer Offset

Expert advice on the Producer Offset – the tax rebate for Australian content.

Peter Rabbit, Michele McDonald

Peter Rabbit, Michele McDonald

Find this episode of the Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, SpotifyStitcher or Pocket Casts

What’s the Producer Offset? How much is it worth? How do I get it? How long will it take?

These are just some of the topics covered by Michele McDonald, Senior Manager of Screen Australia’s Producer Offset and Co-Production Unit (POCU), in this latest podcast episode.

Michele discusses the basics – such as the Significant Australian Content (SAC) test and how many government offsets you can get - to more intricate queries around the Gallipoli Clause, and the use of Cinema on Demand in feature film applications.

So whether you’re thinking about applying for the Producer Offset, need a refresher, or want to wade into some of the more detailed aspects of Australian screen incentives, check out this episode of the Screen Australia podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Pocketcasts.

NEW TO THE PRODUCER OFFSET?

Before you listen, read this.

The Producer Offset was introduced in 2007, as a means of giving Australian producers equity in their projects and building a sustainable businesses. It has been described by producers such as Academy Award-winner Emile Sherman (The King’s Speech, Lion) from See-Saw Films as “the anchor around which our entire business has been built.” 

The Producer Offset is a tax rebate for Australian producers that’s administered by Screen Australia on behalf of the Federal Government. It’s one of three Federal Government screen incentives. The other two, which are administered by the Department of Communications and the Arts, are the Location Offset and the Post Production and Digital Effects (PDV) Offset.

For feature films, the Producer Offset is worth 40% of QAPE (Qualifying Australian Production Expenditure), and for television and other eligible formats, it’s worth 20% of QAPE.

So for example, let’s say you were an Australian producer and made a feature film for $1.2 million. In this scenario, $1 million of that budget was spent in Australia, and was therefore Qualifying Australian Production Expenditure or QAPE. So after you submitted your Final Certificate for the Producer Offset, you would get 40% of $1 million (or $400,000) back from the Australian Tax Office (ATO). If you made a television series for the same amount, you would get 20% of $1 million back – or $200,000.

It’s assessed by Screen Australia in two stages – the optional Provisional Certificate, and mandatory Final Certificate. It takes around 12 weeks to assess and submit a Final Certificate (longer for large/complex projects or incomplete applications). Once a producer has their Final Certificate, they can submit it to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) who does the final check and reimbursement of funds. 

In 2018/19, there were 164 Final Certificates issued for the Producer Offset across film, television and documentary.

There is specific eligibility criteria for those applying for a Provisional or Final Certificate, and even more detailed guidelines as to what qualifies as a feature film, television series or documentary.

FURTHER READING

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