Section 481 TCA 1997 provides a 32% payable credit for eligible expenditure on film production in Ireland. It is available to Irish and international film production companies that are resident in the State or in an EEA State and carry on business in the State through a branch or subsidiary.
Section 481 was substantially changed (in Finance Act 2013, Finance (no.2) Act 2013, and Finance Act 2014) from an investor led Income Tax scheme to a Film Corporate Tax Credit. The process of redesigning the scheme involved comprehensive consultation with representatives of various sectors within the film industry including the visual effects and post production sector. The new scheme commenced in January 2015, following State Aid approval from the European Commission.
One of the key changes to the design of the new scheme related to the timing of application for the credit. As post production and visual effects are generally contracted later in the production process and mostly after the commencement of principal photography, they were previously unable to apply for the support of section 481 relief. The legislation was specifically amended to ensure that stand-alone work of post production and visual effects companies would now be able to access the credit. This has meant that Irish post production and visual effects companies are now able to pitch for international projects which are supporting the development of the industry in Ireland.