CAVCO Public Notice 2022-02

Gatineau, April 22, 2022

Change to the treatment of stock footage costs when calculating the Breakdown of Costs for Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit applications

Purpose

  1. This public notice outlines a modification to how stock footage costs will be categorized when determining whether a production meets minimum Canadian cost requirements of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) program. It follows from a call-for-comments public notice on this subject that was issued by the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) on January 26, 2022.

Background

  1. Subparagraph 1106(4)(b)(iii) of the Income Tax Regulations (Regulations) requires that for a production to be eligible for the CPTC, at least 75% of certain designated production costs must be payable for services provided to or by Canadians. This percentage is calculated when an applicant completes the Breakdown of Costs section of an application to CAVCO for a certificate of completion (“Part B application”).
  2. As highlighted in the original public notice, documentary producers have often mentioned obstacles they face in meeting this program requirement. Documentaries (as well as other types of productions) may need to use non-Canadian stock footage due to the subject matter being covered, or the limited availability of footage from Canadian sources.
  3. In many cases, a relatively small amount spent on non-Canadian footage may place documentaries in jeopardy of meeting the 75% Canadian services minimum. This is partially because a larger proportion of their expenses (in comparison to many other genres) is for key creative positions. While those positions are usually occupied by Canadians, their costs are excluded from the Canadian services calculation under the relevant wording in the Regulations.
  4. The proposed new approach to categorizing stock footage costs requires no change to the Regulations and, as noted in responses to CAVCO’s consultation, would have an immediate beneficial impact on documentary production, and production in general.

Comments on CAVCO Public Notice 2022-01

  1. In response to the call for comments in Public Notice 2022-01, CAVCO received 13 submissions from production companies and industry associations. All submissions were considered in drafting the final policy. The key principles of the policy as proposed in Public Notice 2022-01 remain unchanged.
  2. All 13 responses were in support of the proposed changes discussed in Public Notice 2022-01. Two respondents included suggestions for additional changes to the Breakdown of Costs calculation. These suggestions were beyond the scope of the specific proposal as outlined in Public Notice 2022-01, and they are therefore not reflected in this final Public Notice. They will be retained for consideration if any further changes to the Breakdown of Costs calculation are proposed in the future.

Policy Statement

  1. The Breakdown of Costs section of the CPTC application will be adjusted to move “Stock Footage” (live action - line item 67“b” / animation – line item 48“b”) from the “Services” column to the “Other” column.
  2. The CPTC guidelines (section 7.10.03) will be updated to reflect this change and explain the “coming-into-force” transition period (see paragraph 10, below).

Coming Into Force

  1. This change will be implemented with a transition period. For productions that started principal photography on or before October 31, 2022, applicants can choose to enter stock footage costs in either the “Services” or the “Other” column of the Breakdown of Costs section of the Part B application. This applies to applications in progress and new applications.
  2. For productions that start principal photography after October 31, 2022 applicants must enter stock footage costs in the “Other” column.

Contacting CAVCO

  1. Anyone with questions about this public notice may contact CAVCO by email (bcpac-cavco@pch.gc.ca) or by phone at 1-888-433-2200 (Teletypewriter toll-free: 1-888-997-3123).
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