The Film Incentive BC Tax Credit has been expanded to add a 35% Scriptwriting Tax Credit for expenditures incurred on or after February 21, 2018. The expansion will include BC labour for scriptwriting expenditures incurred by a corporation prior to the completion of the final script stage of the production and must be claimed in the taxation year in which principal photography of the production begins. The cost of purchasing a script is not an eligible scriptwriting expense.
- Creative BC processes the eligibility and completion applications and issues the certificates. The certifying authority is the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. The Canada Revenue Agency reviews and audits claims and issues refund cheques where appropriate.
- The FIBC credit may be claimed by an eligible production corporation. Please see the Ministry of Finance website for more information on the eligibility requirements: British Columbia Film and Television Tax Credit.
- Yes, the credit is refundable to the extent it exceeds the corporation's income tax payable.
- The credit is claimed when filing the T2 Corporation Income Tax Return. A completed claim form (T1196) and eligibility certificate for each production should be attached to the top of the T2 form.
- Yes. We need to have the production corporation’s fiscal year end before we can issue the eligibility certificate since completion and filing deadlines are set from this date. If the corporate fiscal year end changes, please notify us.
- Production companies are encouraged to apply for an eligibility certificate as early as possible in the pre-production or production stage. This allows time to address any issues that may put a production offside prior to the start of the production. Documents required when submitting an application are set out in the FIBC Checklist. Please note that the eligibility certificate will not be issued until principal photography has commenced.
- Yes. A completion certificate must be issued by Creative BC within 30 months from the end of the corporation's fiscal year in which principal photography began. Documents required at the time of application are set out in the FIBC Checklist. If you fail to submit your application and documents on time, or do not allow Creative BC sufficient time to issue the completion certificate, your eligibility certificate may be revoked. If the eligibility certificate is revoked, the production corporation is not entitled to FIBC and must repay any monies received for that production.
- Our service standard is to process applications within 25 business days of receiving a complete application. Incomplete applications, outstanding information or missing documents will delay the issuing of certificates.
- The Canada Revenue Agency Film Services Units try to complete their work on a claim within 60 days for a complete claim that is not selected for an audit, or within 120 days when an audit is performed. The complete file is then forwarded to your tax centre for assessment. A refund cheque is issued within a few days where applicable.
Please email your request to Creative BC at , referencing the name of the production and the application number. Please note that we will likely need additional back-up supporting the amendment request.
There is a fee of $200 + GST for an amended certificate when the application to amend is being assessed separately from the completion application. There is no amendment fee when the eligibility certificate is amended at the time the completion certificate is issued.
The individual must be resident in BC and ordinarily resident in Canada as of December 31 of the year preceding the end of the fiscal year for which the tax credit is being claimed. For example, if the production corporation’s fiscal year end is March 31, 2013, the person must be resident in BC as of December 31, 2012 to be part of the corporation’s BC labour for that tax year.
Note that it must be established that the individual is also a resident of Canada when they have recently moved to Canada. This is assessed by the Canada Revenue Agency based on a number of factors indicating that the individual is not in Canada temporarily. Paying tax in BC in the previous calendar year is a good indicator but is not necessarily the determining factor that the individual is a resident of BC for the purposes of the tax credit.To determine if the individual is resident of Canada, refer to the CRA’s guidelines on Resident Status and Tax Obligations.
For further information, please refer to the CRA residency guidelines or contact the CRA Film Services Unit at 1-866-317-0473.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requires a copy of any one of the following documents to support residency status:
- Notice of assessment (T1) showing that the individual is a resident of Canada/province for the relevant tax year;
- Letter from the CRA giving an opinion of the individual’s residency status in Canada for the relevant year(s)*;
- Long-term (one year or more) lease or purchase of a Canadian dwelling with utility and/or cell phone bills showing the individual is living at that Canadian address.
OR if none of the above documents are available, the CRA requires a copy of three of the following documents to support residency status.
- Copy of the last income tax return filed in the country of origin and/or any document filed with the foreign tax authority in which the individual has declared that they are no longer a resident.
- Short-term (less than a year) lease agreement or letter from a landlord supporting a rental agreement.
- Provincial/territorial health or services card for the individual, their spouse and/or dependant.
- Driver’s licence or vehicle registration from the relevant province/territory**.
- Professional association or union membership in Canada.
- Statements of accounts (ex. bank accounts, retirement savings plan, credit cards, securities accounts) from a Canadian branch of a financial institution.
**A provincial or territorial services card that includes health care and a driver’s licence will count as two documents.
For further information on residency status determination, refer to the CRA’s Residency Guidelines or contact the CRA Film Services Unit at 1-866-317-0473.
- The individual must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada who is subject to tax in BC on December 31 of the year before principal photography starts on the production.
The BC film tax credits are calculated on labour expenditures paid to BC-based individuals. Kit rental charges are not direct labour expenditures as they are paid for the rental of the equipment or tools and not for the individual’s labour. If an individual is being paid as a contractor, the kit rentals are not permitted as eligible labour expenditures.
However, if the kit rental is paid to an employee and is included as a taxable benefit to the employee on his/her T4 and the relevant source deductions have been taken, kit rentals will be allowed to be included as an eligible labour expenditure. CRA’s Application Policy FIS 2006-01 provides further information on the inclusion of taxable benefits as labour expenditures.
- Only if they are paid to an employee of the corporation and included as a taxable benefit on his or her T4. Fringes paid to contractors are not eligible. CRA’s Application Policy FIS 2006-01 provides further information on the inclusion of taxable benefits as labour expenditures.
- You can provide this information in your own format or, if you prefer, you can use our Schedule of BC / Non-BC Costs Template.
An interprovincial co-production under the BC legislation is a production that is jointly produced in more than one province by corporations from each jurisdiction. Please refer to our information sheet for more detailed information.
An international treaty co-production is a production that is jointly produced by two or more production companies under the terms of a co-production treaty between Canada and another country. Telefilm Canada is the certifying authority for treaty co-productions. Please contact Telefilm for further information and guidelines. Creative BC requires a Telefilm Preliminary Recommendation with the eligibility application and a Final Recommendation with the completion application.
For more detailed information, refer to our information sheet.
- The production cost limit (i.e. the BC labour cap) may be calculated on the total global production costs net of assistance provided to all copyright owners in the production.
- Creative BC treats these productions as international treaty co-productions and defers to Telefilm’s requirements.
- Reality programming consists of scenes recorded on private or public authority surveillance equipment. This category also includes programming currently known as court television and similar formats (e.g. “Cops”).
For privately held companies, over 50% of the voting shares need to be held by Canadians. We do a look-through to the individual shareholders of the production corporation and any parent corporations (including parent corporations of parent corporations!). To do this, we need the Schedule B (Certificate of an Officer), Corporate Share Register and Certificate of Incorporation for the production corporation and all parent corporations. For publicly-held corporations, please use our Public Corporation Affidavit.
- No. Agreements with sales agents are not accepted in lieu of agreements with Canadian distributors or broadcasters at fair market value.
- Yes, but note that distribution agreements will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
It depends on the nature of the investment. If it is an equity contribution by individuals who are not regularly engaged in the film & television production business, then this may put the production offside. Note that investment by way of share purchase in the production corporation itself is usually acceptable. We recommend that you get independent legal advice on this issue.
Please contact CRA Film Services Unit if you have further questions.
The Canada Revenue Agency currently considers crowdsourcing (a.k.a. crowdfunding) “assistance” and therefore it may reduce the federal and provincial tax credits but it does not appear to put a production offside for tax credits. Please see the CRA’s application policy on this issue.
When a financing source “grinds” the tax credits, it means that it is deducted from the total cost of production when calculating the BC labour cap. The following is a non-exhaustive list of ineligible costs that grind the BC tax credits:
- Website costs
- Promotional / marketing costs incurred after the production is complete
- 50% of craft services
- Tax credit application fees
- Non-recoupable advances
- Other provincial tax credits (not federal tax credits)
- Non-bona fide loans (please refer to CRA’s application policy on this issue and additional types of assistance)
Note that bona fide loans, equity financing and CAVCO (federal) tax credits do not grind the BC tax credits.
Please see our FIBC on-screen credit request here
Yes, but only if principal photography (first unit shooting) on that day takes place substantially outside of the designated Vancouver area. For tax purposes, "substantially" is interpreted as 90% or more. Second unit shooting is not counted as principal photography.
3D or stereoscopic filming or conversion (3D) may be eligible for the DAVE tax credit, provided the shots are manipulated after shooting for depth perception and other visual effect properties. The wages, salaries and remuneration paid to BC-based individuals performing the 3D associated post-production functions may qualify as BC labour expenditures for the purposes of calculating the DAVE tax credit. Please note, only the individuals using digital technology for the 3D process will qualify for the "digital" component of the credit for the purposes of determining primarily digital. The fact that a production is made entirely using 3D processes does not make the production automatically 100% DAVE eligible. The primarily digital determination must be performed to determine the amount of DAVE eligible activities for the production.
They may be answered elsewhere on our website or on the BC Ministry of Finance and CRA websites:
Finally, feel free to call or email us at Creative BC.
PLEASE BE ADVISED that where there is a discrepancy between these FAQs and the Income Tax Act (BC) and Regulations (“The Act”), the provisions of The Act prevail. Creative BC cannot confirm whether a production will be eligible for tax credits until we have received a complete application and all corresponding documentation.