Thursday, 26 September 2019

Questions (15, 16)

Richard Boyd Barrett


15. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the way in which the condition for receiving section 481 tax relief, which requires the recipients to provide quality employment and training, can be met by the producer companies that apply for and receive the relief when those same producer companies are denying responsibility for employment and training on film productions but rather claiming that a designated activity company, which exists only for a time limited specific financial purpose, is the entity responsible for employment and training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38988/19]

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Bríd Smith


16. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Finance if the condition for receiving section 481 tax relief is being met by the producer companies in the film industry that apply for and receive the relief; and the way in which this is monitored by his Department. [39094/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 16 together.

The Deputies will be aware that a number of amendments were made to Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 as part of Finance Act 2018.

I legislated to split the certification process between Revenue and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG). Production companies are now required to apply to the DCHG before commencement of Irish production to have the film certified as a qualifying film.

As part of the application process, applicants must provide a skills development plan and, if the amount of eligible expenditure is over €2m, that plan must be agreed with Screen Ireland. Additionally, a post project skills development report is required for each project.

In terms of quality employment, the monitoring of compliance with employment rights legislation is primarily a matter for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, through the Workplace Relations Commission.  However, as part of the new certification process to be undertaken by DCHG, an applicant company is required to sign an undertaking of compliance with all relevant employment legislation. This undertaking is required to be signed and furnished with every section 481 application.

These conditions shall be met not just by a producer company but also by the qualifying company. If a producer does not comply with the employment and skills development requirements set out by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht they may not be eligible for the corporation tax credit.  Any amount already claimed may be recoverable, with interest. 

I have further been advised by my officials that, following a joint request by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), the Services, Industry, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), and Screen Producers Ireland, the WRC has agreed to undertake an audit of the Republic of Ireland Independent Film and Television Drama Production Sector with a view to examining industrial relations generally, employment practices and procedure, assessing issues arising (if any), and making recommendations for their improvement where appropriate.

The WRC has published a Workplace Relations Notice on its website, inviting submissions from stakeholders on the above listed matters by 31 October 2019.