Last year in September the Cypriot cabinet has approved a new filming scheme, which was created with the aim to attract overseas filming companies to shoot their films in Cyprus.
The new filming scheme was developed by the Unit of administrative Reform of the Presidency in cooperation with the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) and the Ministry of Finance.
The new scheme entered into force recently with the creation of the Online Platform ‘Film in Cyprus’.
‘Film in Cyprus’ online platform
The Online Platform was introduced by Cyprus Invest (CIPA) on the 11th of September 2018 in Nicosia. CIPA is the responsible body for examining the applications and the chairs the Committee for the Evaluation of the Filming Scheme.
Through the online platform interested filming companies can submit their application to participate.
On the ‘Film in Cyprus’ online platform visitors can find information regarding the competitive advantages to film in Cyprus, film industry professionals (overseas and Cypriot), ideal filming locations that can be used for shooting in Cyprus and a list of local professionals for cooperation.
Cyprus filming scheme – The Incentives
The new Cyprus filming scheme provides, both Cypriot and overseas producers with a number of incentives, cash rebates, tax credits, discounts on investments made in infrastructure and equipment and VAT returns on expenditure.
The proposals will be evaluated based on a specific cultural criterion, which was established for this purpose.
- Cash rebate
Production companies can be granted a cash rebate of up to 35% on eligible expenditures incurred in Cyprus. In order to be eligible for a cash rebate applicant must satisfy certain criteria, which shall ensure that the aid promotes the Cypriot or European world culture. The amount of cash rebate depends on the score of the film at the cultural test.
- Tax Credit (pending parliamentary approval)
Production companies can choose tax credits as an alternative to cash rebates, offering a reduction of applicable corporate tax liability of the company. The maximum aid shall represent 35% of the eligible expenditure made in Cyprus. The amount of reduction depends on the score of the film at the cultural test.
- Tax allowance for investment made in infrastructure and equipment (pending parliamentary approval)
Small and medium-sized companies investing in film production infrastructure and technological equipment are entitled to deduct the amount invested from their taxable income.
The maximum aid for small enterprises is up to 20% of the qualifying production expenditures and up to 10% of the qualifying expenditures for medium-sized enterprises.
The investment in technological equipment shall remain in Cyprus at least for 5 years.
- VAT refund on qualifying production expenditures for third countries
The VAT tax rates in Cyprus are 19%, 9% and 5% on all products and services provided in Cyprus and 19% and %% on all taxable imports.
Qualifying production expenditures incurred in Cyprus by third country film production companies are entitled to a VAT refund.
It is noted that with respect to the cash rebate or the tax credit, the applicant shall select which incentive they wish to take advantage of. According to the scheme, the cash rebate can apply together with the tax discount for investment in infrastructure and equipment as well as together with the VAT return and the tax credit can apply together with investment in infrastructure and equipment as well as together with the VAT return.
Qualifying film categories within the framework of the Scheme:
- Feature films – Long Films
- Television film
- Television series
- Mini series
- Digital or Analogue Animation
- Creative documentary
- Transmedia and Crossmedia productions
- Reality programs which directly or indirectly promote Cyprus and its culture
The English translation of the Scheme can be found online under: Cyprus Filming Scheme
The Cyprus Film Commission
The Cyprus film commission is chaired by CIPA, who is the responsible body for examining the applications and the first point of contact for the interested parties. CIPA will also provide support in obtaining permits, importing and exporting equipment and dealing with the relevant local authorities and ministries.
The Cyprus Film Commission is a four-member committee consisting of representatives of Ministries and Organizations which are approved by the Competent Authority. The current members are:
- Ministry of Education and Culture (Senior officer)
- Ministry of Finance (Senior officer)
- Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (Senior officer)
- Cyprus Tourism Organisation (Senior officer)
Source: CIPA, Cyprus Filming Scheme