2017 Film Production Scheme in Greece
The Greek Parliament voted for the provision of investment incentives focusing on the growth of audiovisual sector in Greece. In addition to film productions, this industry includes video games and the production of TV and animation programs.
Many European countries, such as Great Britain, Italy and Norway, have already adopted similar policies to strengthen the audiovisual sector. This practice is, in general, successful given that the refund and tax relief scheme has attracted both ‘seek risk’ and ‘risk averse’ investors.
The Greek case
Based on other EU countries’ standards, the new legislation shall provide for a refund of 25% on expenditure for productions filmed in Greece. More specifically, after the completion of the business plan, the production expenses incurred within the Greek territory will determine the calculation basis of the refund rate, allowing a maximum absolute refund of 5 million Euros per production. However, if the expenditure incurred within the Greek territory does not exceed 100,000 Euros, the film, animation or TV program will not qualify for a refund.
The General Secretary of Information and Communication, Mr. Lefteris Kretsos, stated that the budget of the Ministry amounts to 450 million Euros and is expected to be allocated in the following 5 year period to audiovisual productions, which qualify through cultural tests.
The National Audiovisual and Communication Center (E.K.O.M.E.) is going to receive and assess the applications for investment projects concerning audiovisual productions. It is also noted that all the procedures included in this scheme, are carried out through the Information System for Government Funding of the Ministry of Development.
The British case
United Kingdom has a long tradition in incentives policy regarding the production of films and audiovisual programs.
More specifically, a production company may apply for a refund of up to 25% of the expenses realized in the UK territory, without a ceiling on the amount. It can also qualify for a tax relief of up to 80% on the aforementioned costs. However, if less than 10% of total production costs are incurred within the UK, then the company is not entitled to apply for a refund.
It is noted that the UK Tax Authority (HMRC) defined that if a good or service is consumed or used within the UK, it is considered as an expense incurred within the territory, irrespective of the nationality of the persons carrying out the specific activities.
The Greek Government, having adopted successful policies already implemented in other EU countries, attempts to integrate audiovisual production into its development plans.
The unique landscapes and picturesque Greek islands may attract quality productions from all over the world. In addition, there are sufficient and skilled Greek professionals who are able to recruit film and other productions.
In a few words, this policy is expected to attract new investments and result in an increase in tourism and employment. It shall be noted that the introduction of tax incentives and the creditworthiness of the established state bodies, which will implement the whole project, are key factors for a ‘success story’.