French Versioning and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit

This post is written strictly for TV producers in Ontario, where we are based, and it’s about the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit. So if that’s not you, please feel free to move on. But if you’re in Ontario and want to know how to maximize your tax credits on French versioning, read on.

You’re producing a factual series or documentary. You’ve pre-sold it in Quebec, and have to deliver in French. How do you make that happen? You have two choices: send the project to a dubbing company in Montreal and drive up your non-Ontario costs, or hire someone like Power of Babel to do it in Ontario and earn extra tax credits.

The most serious implication of going out of province for French dubbing or subtitling is that it could make your production ineligible for the Ontario tax credit. According to the rules, you can’t spend more than 25% of your total budget, and just 5% of your post-production budget, outside the province. The OMDC may waive these requirements if high-quality French versioning is not available in Ontario… but it is.

But even if non-Ontario costs are not a problem, there is another reason to do your French translation and dubbing in the province: you could earn a significantly higher tax credit.

Want to know how much? Here’s how it all breaks down.

If you’re still reading, you likely already know that the Ontario tax credit is 35% of Ontario labour costs. But of course, it’s not quite that simple.

When you hire a company, such as a post house or Power of Babel, you can claim that tax credit on up to 65% of our invoice – that’s 35% of 65%. (Confused yet? Let’s just say that when you hire a company, you can claim a tax credit of up to 23% of its invoice.)

But not all budget categories can be claimed in full. Labour is, but equipment and studio rental count at a much lower rate:

• Translation 100%
• Casting 100%
• Voice Recording / Dubbing 100%
• Sound Mix – Engineer 100%
• Sound Mix – Studio 15%
• Supers and Credits 20%
• Closed Captioning 100%

 

In other words, just 15% of the studio rental fee, and 20% of video post, counts towards your tax credit. But everything else – i.e. almost all of your versioning budget – counts at 100%. We maximize your eligibility by breaking down our invoice with as much detail as possible.

So, the bottom line is this: let’s say you’re producing a 13 x 24’ lifestyle series, and your French versioning budget is $60,000. By doing your dubbing in Ontario, you can increase your tax credit by somewhere in the neighbourhood of $10,000-12,000. That’s money you’re leaving on the table if you do your French versioning out of province.

Want to know more? Please feel free to get in touch.

Eric Geringas
Versioning producer. Documentary filmmaker. Factual TV director. Problem solver.