Incentive to film recording and production
Through the Tourism, Cinema and Audiovisual Support Fund, Portugal created one of the most competitive financial incentive systems in Europe – the Incentive to Production and Filming, established by Decree-Law no. 45/2018, of 19 June and whose Regulation is set out in Annex I to Ordinance No. 490/2018, of 28 September, amended by Ordinance No. 198/2019, of 27 June.
Main features of the Incentive
Applies to Film, Audiovisual and VOD Productions: National, Foreign (executive/services) and/or official and de facto co-productions;
Minimum expenditure in Portugal: € 500,000.00 for fiction or animation projects | € 250,000.00 for documentary or post-production projects;
Support rate of 25%, which can be increased to 30%, on eligible expenditure. The percentage is determined by a ‘Cultural Test’, which is attached to the aforementioned Regulation, focusing on the characteristics of the project;
Attribution of support on a first come first served basis;
Payments in advance and in instalments;
Maximum incentive allocated per project is € 4m;
Decision to award the incentive within 20 working days.
Who can apply
Companies registered in the Cinematographic and Audiovisual Entities Registry, a platform provided by the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual (ICA), provided they have as a corporate purpose:
a) The activity of producing films intended for projection in cinemas or broadcast on television or through audiovisual communication services on demand or other audiovisual communication services;
b) The provision of technical services related to cinema and audiovisual production, including equipment rental, technical post-production activities, laboratory activities for film production, special laboratory activities for animated films and sound post-production activities.
The Registration of Cinematographic and Audiovisual Entities ensures the mobility of the registration of a European company, non-resident and without a branch in Portugal, in order to allow the application for the Incentive to entities with headquarters in another member state of the European Union or in a State of the European Economic Area. However, before the start date for the realisation of eligible expenses, the applicant entity must establish a company or branch with a legal personality in Portugal, and companies with a specific object and limited duration to the production and management of one or more works – ‘special purpose vehicle companies’ – are permitted.
If the project is a co-production that involves more than one producer established in Portugal, each of the co-producers must make an application for the Incentive, regarding the eligible expenses they support.
|Cinematographic works||Fiction||500 000,00 €|
|for theatrical||Animation||500 000,00 €|
|release||Documentary||250 000,00 €|
|Audiovisual works||Television||500 000,00 €|
|of independent production||Unit television documentaries||250 000,00 €|
|for television||TV animation specials||500 000,00 €|
|broadcasting||TV series||500 000,00 €|
|Works for on-demand||Fiction||500 000,00 €|
|audiovisual media services (VOD)||Animation||500 000,00 €|
|One-off or series||Documentary||250 000,00 €|
|Post production||All of the above typologies||250 000,00 €|
|* Minimum carried out and taxed in Portugal.|
How to apply
i. Bona fide declaration indicating that the following requirements are met:
- Have regularly organised accounting, in accordance with accounting standards and other legal provisions in force for the respective sector of activity;
- Not be subject to the determination of the respective taxable profit by indirect methods;
- Not be in a state of insolvency, declared by a judicial sentence, in the process of liquidation, dissolution or cessation of activity, subject to any preventive means of liquidating assets or in any analogous situation or that has the respective case pending, unless covered by an insolvency plan, under current legislation;
- Not be subject to a pending recovery order, following a decision by the European Commission that has declared State aid received illegal and incompatible with the internal market;
ii. Copyright assignment contracts or authorisations from copyright holders;
iii. Contract with the director or directors;
Iv. Co-production contract or contracts, when applicable;
v. Contract between the foreign producer and the local executive producer, in the case of foreign production;
vi. Budget and forecast of allocation of expenditure by producer, territory and item;
vii. Identification, including indication of nationality, tax residence and estimated amount of 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 under the terms of article 5 of the regulation are set out in annex i to ordinance no. 490/2018, of 28 september, amended by ordinance no. 198/2019, of 27 june;
viii. Project financing plan;
ix. Contracts or decisions that certify the financing obtained and foreseen;
x. Distribution or broadcasting plan and respective contracts signed, if any.
b) Documents related to the content of the project:
ii. Content description, in the case of documentaries;
iii. Notes of intention or explanations from the director and/or the producer;
iv. Additional explanations, technical or artistic, relevant to the evaluation of the project, if necessary.
Ica is responsible for the procedural management of applications for the incentive.
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.
Applications must be sent by email (limit of 20 mb), to the address – email@example.com, in the following terms:
1. Body of Email:
- identification of the applicant and other co-producers, if any, or of the foreign producer, if it is a foreign production;
- identification and technical characterisation of the work, with indication of expected duration, funding support and final format of the work;
- production and post-production dates and locations.
2. Annexes: Aforementioned documents in separate files (total limit of 20 MB)
All production expenses, provided by persons or companies, relating to personnel and the purchase of goods and services carried out and taxed in Portugal are considered eligible.
There are, however, maximum limits for expenses above the line (see paragraph 4 of article 9 of the Regulation attached to Ordinance No. 490/2018).
Production expenses related to production activities in Portugal, but which have been incurred in another EU Member State, qualify as eligible expenses up to a limit of 20% of the total of that expenditure.
Expenses related to the development of the project also qualify as eligible expenses up to a limit of 1 year before the submission of the application to the Incentive.
ICA may adopt additional specifications regarding eligible expenses, in accordance with its regulation on eligible expenses and accountability.