CAVCO Public Notice 2016-06

Gatineau, December 3, 2016

Update on processing times for tax credit program applications

Current Status

The Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) is continuing to receive a large number of applications under the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) and Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) programs, in comparison to previous years. Between March and October 2016, the number of new CPTC applications (Part A or Part B) and PSTC applications was approximately 20% higher than it was in the same period last year. This is continuing to result in longer overall processing times for CPTC applications.

The importance of submitting complete applications and responding to CAVCO requests for additional information

CAVCO would like to remind applicants that a long processing time for an application can also be due to the fact that the application is incomplete or missing supporting documentation. In recent years, approximately 85% of CPTC applications do not have the required documents allowing tax credit officers to adjudicate the file. In many cases, a significant amount of back-and-forth communications are required before all the necessary information is provided. Typically much of the information requested by tax credit officers should have been provided with the original application (for example, correctly completed CRA T2029 waiver forms, CAVCO Personnel Numbers for key creative personnel who were not listed in the application but included in the screen credits, or courtesy credit affidavits for additional producer-related personnel not included in the application).

A checklist of information that is required as part of a CPTC application can be found on CAVCO’s website.

Once the application is under active review, it is similarly important for applicants to respond, in a timely and complete manner, to any additional questions from CAVCO tax credit officers, as CAVCO cannot otherwise proceed with finalizing the analysis of the application.

Measures to address backlog

(a) Hiring and training of new CAVCO staff

CAVCO has hired additional tax credit officers, and is undertaking a training program to decrease processing times. CAVCO will continue to hire additional staff as necessary, to help it meet its published service standards (i.e., to deliver a decision within 90 days of receiving a complete application, or 120 days where the file has been submitted for a further compliance audit review).

(b) Improvements to CAVCO’s online application system

A number of improvements to CAVCO’s online system will help clients ensure that their application is complete, and that they are able to communicate easily with CAVCO regarding their case files. System enhancements were released in the spring, and the latest on December 3, 2016. Our latest features include the following:

  • Clearer messages visible in the application sections regarding missing documents or missing fields;
  • New revision phase to detect missing information and ensure application completeness;
  • New “Copy from” functionality to easily import key sections of previous similar applications;
  • New instructions and embedded “how to” videos;
  • New message to confirm that a page was saved successfully;
  • New functionality to easily copy and paste a list of episodes from a document (Word, Excel) into the application;
  • New message sent to confirm key legislative deadlines.

In addition, it will now also be mandatory for both CAVCO and clients to use the online system’s message centre when communicating any information or questions related to case files (including important messages from CAVCO relating to the final decision regarding an application). This will help clients keep track of the status of their applications, ensure that all communications occur in the secure environment of the online system, and expedite the entire process for file review in general.

Information on the current status of an application

While CAVCO recognizes the importance of issuing timely CPTC certificates to producers, it is difficult to provide a precise update on the remaining processing time for a given application. Many factors influence timelines, including the complexity of the application, or the volume of total applications at a given time.

Applicants can now check their accounts in the online system to see the current status of any active application. Three key applications phases are highlighted below; applicants should check their accounts regularly for other messages regarding the progression of their files.

  • In Queue: Once CAVCO’s preliminary assessment of an application for completeness has been performed, its status will be reflected as “In queue” in the system.
  • Under Review: Once an application has been assigned to a CAVCO tax credit officer, the file’s status will be updated to “Under review”.
  • Granted / Denied / Revoked: The status of an application will next be updated (to “Granted”, “Denied” or “Revoked”) once a final decision has been made with respect to the application.

Our ongoing commitment to clients

As always, CAVCO continuously strives to deliver high-quality and efficient client service, balancing the need for the timely issuance of CPTC certificates with the need to ensure that each production meets all program requirements at the time a CPTC certificate is issued.

Who to contact for more information

Producers with questions relating to their CPTC applications should contact the tax credit officer reviewing their files, or call us toll-free at 1-888-433-2200.

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