Cash Refund

At the end of 2023, the State Budget Law for 2024 established a new incentive scheme for production: the Cash Refund. This new incentive, with an annual appropriation of up to 20 million euros, will complement the Cash Rebate from the Tourism and Cinema Support Fund and will be intended for productions with a higher budgetary value, with eligible production expenditure within national territory equal to or greater than 2.5 million euros per project.

Cash Refund applications will be opened in due course.

 

Cash Refund

Intended for cinematographic and audiovisual works, fiction, animation and documentaries

National productions, co-productions and executive production

Production projects or post-production only

Minimum €2,500,000 of eligible expenditure

30% reimbursement of the first €2,000,000 and up to 25% of the surplus

Allocation on a first come, first served basis

Minimum score required on the Cultural Test

Single payment in the year following Final Recognition

Support up to: €6,000,000 for cinematographic and audiovisual works / €3,000,000 per episode.

Annual budget: €20,000,000

Required mention of Cash Refund in work’s credits

Who can apply

  • Taxable persons subject to corporate income tax (IRC) with the following corporate purpose can apply for the Cash Refund:

    • The production of films intended for screening in cinemas or broadcast by television or distributed via on-demand audiovisual media services or other audiovisual media services;
    • The provision of technical services relating to cinema and audiovisual production, including the rental of equipment, post-production technical activities, activities relating to film production laboratories, activities relating to special laboratories for animated films and audio post-production activities.

    Cumulatively, companies wishing to apply for the incentive should be entered in the Register of Cinematographic and Audiovisual Entities.

    This register ensures mobility of registration for European companies that are non-resident in Portugal and do not have a branch in Portugal (entities with a registered office in the EU/EEA). Before the date on which the eligible expenditure is incurred, the applicant must establish a company or branch subject to tax in Portugal (special-purpose vehicles are eligible for this purpose).

    For questions regarding the Register of Cinematographic and Audiovisual Entities, please contact us by email registo@ica-ip.pt

    Note: In the case of co-production involving more than one producer established in Portugal, each co-producer submits an application for admission to the Incentive for eligible expenditure they incur directly and not by transfer to another co-producer, and each of these co-producers is a co-beneficiary, if the project is supported. In this case, operators of television services or on-demand audiovisual services may also apply for admission to the Incentive benefit, where appropriate.

Eligible Expenditure

  1. All production expenditure, submitted by persons or companies, relating to personnel and acquisition of goods and services carried out and taxed in Portugal is considered eligible according to the following considerations:
    • The eligibility of expenditure is determined by its nature, reasonableness, relationship to the project and suitability according to the applicable legislation.
    • Eligible expenditure is expenditure actually paid, supported by fiscally valid original invoices and receipts, or equivalent payment documents, issued in the name of the beneficiary entity, relating to the project’s implementation period.
    • Eligible project expenditure corresponds to expenditure incurred after the submission date of the application for admission to the Incentive benefit.
    • Exception: Development expenditure, up to 12 months before the application date.
  2. Production expenditure relating to production activities carried out in Portugal but contracted with service providers established in other EU or EEA states, up to a limit of 20% of the eligible expenditure in Portugal, is also considered eligible.

Support limits

Accumulation of public support: up to 80%, pursuant to paragraph 5 of Decree-Law no. 74/2021, of 25 August

The Cash Refund cannot be combined, for the same production, with the Cash Rebate from the Tourism and Cinema Support Fund.

“Above the line” expenditure”Production activities that do not include filmingOther productions
  • Producers and producing companies, including executive producers
  • Directors
  • Screenwriters, authors of adaptations and authors of dialogues
  • Other authors, such as authors of preexisting works and musical composers
  • Main actors
Limit by item: 5%Overall limit: 20%Limit by item: 10%Overall limit: 35%

Aid application registration and application

The application must be made before the start of production or post-production work.

For entities that need to start the investment project before the start of the next application phase, aid application registration is available:

The documents required to register the aid request must be sent to picportugal@ica-ip.pt.

Applications are submitted through the HAL platform

The user manual for the HAL platform can be found here.

Required documentation

Administrative documents:

  • Sworn statement;
  • Copyright assignment agreements or permissions from copyright holders (not applicable for foreign productions);
  • Contract with the director or directors (not applicable for foreign productions);
  • Co-production contract or contracts, where applicable;
  • Contract between the foreign producer and the local executive producer, in the case of a foreign production;
  • Budget and forecast breakdown of expenditure by producer, by territory and by item;
  • Identification, including the nationality, tax residence and amount foreseen for fees or payments receivable, of authors, producers, actors, technicians and all professionals and companies to be hired in Portugal and whose participation has an impact on the project’s score in the cultural test;
  • Project financing plan;
  • Contracts or decisions confirming the financing obtained and envisaged;
  • Distribution or broadcasting plan and respective contracts entered into, if any.
  • Environmental sustainability plan, if applicable;
  • Talent development plan.

Documents relating to the content of the project:

  • Script;
  • Treatment, in the case of documentaries;
  • Letters of intent or explanations from the director and/or producer;
  • Additional technical or artistic explanations relevant to the assessment of the project, if necessary

The documents referred to above must be sent in the original Portuguese version or, in the case of a project in a foreign language, in one of the following languages: English, French or Spanish.

Eligibility requirements and cultural assessment table

Minimum eligible production expenditure

PROJECTMIN. ELIGIBLE EXPENDITURE
  • Cinematographic works
  • Audiovisual works for television production
  • Works for viewing via on-demand services
  • Post-production
2.500.000 €

Cultural assessment table

CriterionScoreTotal
AA1 + A2 ≥ 1040
BB + C ≥ 15, of this C2 ≥ 2
C

The cultural assessment table can be obtained here.

For works where at least 50% of shooting time takes place in low-density territories or in the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira, the score obtained in the cultural assessment table is increased by 20%, rounded to the nearest unit up to the limit of the table’s maximum score.

Confirmed financing

On the date of submission of the application for provisional admission to the incentive benefit, the applicant must be proven to have confirmed financing covering at least 55% of the eligible expenditure forecast.

Trainees

In addition, the beneficiary entity must employ at least one paid trainee, of Portuguese nationality or resident in Portugal, in at least 50% of the production and post-production technical-creative departments, for at least all of the shooting or post-production in Portugal.

Provisional admission

The ICA decides on the provisional admission to the incentive benefit and notifies the applicant of the decision within 20 working days of receipt of the application. This period is suspended whenever necessary documents or clarifications are requested.

In the case of provisional admission to the incentive benefit, the notification to the applicant includes the certificate guaranteeing the cultural qualification of the project, the foreseeable dates for incurring the eligible expenditure as well as the envisaged amount, the expected date of completion of the work and an estimate of the incentive to be granted.

Revision

This is required whenever significant modifications to the project occur:

  1. Changes to the co-production structure or the contractual relationship with the local executive producer;
  2. Changes in the identity, nationality or tax residence or tax domicile and the nature or quantity of participation in the project of all authors, actors and technicians or any personnel taken into account in the assessment and ranking of the project according to the table annexed to this regulation;
  3. Changes to the script or to production options or vicissitudes thereof, in particular with regard to filming and post-production locations and the respective durations and dates, or any other factors having an impact on the assessment and scoring of the project characteristics according to the table annexed to this Regulation;
  4. Budgetary variations of more than 10% of the project budget and any reductions in the forecast of eligible expenditure which could jeopardise the eligibility of the project.

Final calculation

The Incentive is be paid in a single instalment by the end of April of the year following the final calculation.

Required documents

National Productions/Co-productions

  • Justification documents list, template here;
  • Statutory auditor’s declaration (guidelines for auditors and report template);
  • Media for the final version of the work, suitable for the purposes of projection, broadcasting, museographic exhibition and preservation of the works, including those intended for Cinemateca Portuguesa – Museu do Cinema, I.P., with the technical specifications and forms stipulated in Regulation no. 630/2018, of 3 October;
  • Trailer for use in the promotion and dissemination of the work by ICA, I.P.;
  • Synopsis of the work and episodes, where applicable, for promotional purposes (maximum 500 characters);
  • Script, if applicable;
  • List of film dialogues, if applicable;
  • Contract with the author, where there is original music;
  • Statement by the producer that he/she has acquired the necessary rights for the exhibition and dissemination of the work, in particular those relating to the use of music and images;
  • Music cue sheet, if applicable;
  • Registration of the cinematographic or audiovisual work at the ICA;
  • Photographs for dissemination and promotion of the work;
  • Film poster in a digital file, if applicable;
  • Press kit, if applicable;
  • Audit of the environmental sustainability plan, if applicable;
  • Distribution/broadcast demonstration.

Executive productions

  • Justification documents list, template here;
  • Statutory auditor’s declaration (guidelines for auditors and report template);
  • Trailer for use in the promotion and dissemination of the work by ICA, I.P.;
  • Synopsis of the work and episodes, where applicable, for promotional purposes (maximum 500 characters);
  • Film poster in a digital file, if applicable;
  • Distribution/broadcast demonstration.

Deadlines: 24 months from the date of provisional admission to the Incentive benefit, or 36 months in the case of animation works, and these periods may be extended up to 36 months or 48 months respectively, upon reasoned request by the applicant.

Cash Refund mention

Incentive mention rules can be obtained here;

Contacts

For further information or clarification of any questions, you may contact us by email picportugal@ica-ip.pt