Serbia's tax incentive kicks off
by Vladan Petkovic
- The first call for projects eligible for Serbia's 20% cash rebate is open and lasts until 30 September
The Film Center Serbia (FCS) has opened the first call for entries for projects eligible for the newly introduced incentive for international productions, and the same rules now apply for homegrown projects.
The incentive takes the form of a cash rebate of 20% of qualified local spending, which includes goods and services purchased in the country, use of locations, the salaries of crew members who are Serbian by nationality, or foreigners with at least one year-long residence in Serbia.
There is no cap per project, and the budget for 2016 is €3.2 million, distributed on a “first come, first served” basis. Eligible formats are: feature films, TV films, TV series, documentaries, animated features, TV ads and post-production of all of these formats. The minimum expenditure in Serbia is as follows:
- For feature films, TV films and TV series: €300,000
- For animated feature films, audio and/or visual post-production: €150,000
- For TV ads: €100,000
- For documentary features: €50,000
A cash rebate is also available for post-production, even when it is not executed in Serbia, provided that the budget for shooting in Serbia is over €100,000.
Applications are sent to the FCS, and the committee of five members from various ministries decides on them. If the application is approved, the applicant signs a contract with the Ministry of Economy. After work on the film is finished, the applicant has 45 days to submit the final report (including an independent audit), and if the report is approved, the applicant receives the cash rebate within 60 days.
“This is extremely good news, and we are very happy that the goal we have been fighting for, for the last eight years, has been fulfilled,” says Ana Ilić, executive director of the Serbia Film Commission, which comprises production companies, service providers and other individual members of the industry, and acts as a link between the public and private sectors.
“We advocated the incentive programme, and then we helped the Ministry of Economy with advice and our expertise to form a useful and simple policy. Now it's crucial to execute it well and to follow the results closely so that we can continue it and expand it. We are sure that Serbia will become an industry centre to reckon with on a global scale, as the infrastructure is in excellent shape, the crews are exceptional, and the quality of production services is high and they are reasonably priced. There are already quite a number of projects that have been waiting for the implementation of the programme to start, so we expect a lot of interest in the coming months,” Ilić told Cineuropa.
Recent international titles shot in Serbia include Newcomer, Sword of Vengeance, Ironclad: Battle of Blood, the TV series The Last Panthers, November Man and Three Days to Kill.
All the information about the cash rebate can be found here, and the full rulebook will be added at the same address in the coming days.