By John Walsh (Irish Examiner)
There could be significant job losses if the Government scraps Section 481 tax relief for television and film production in Ireland, the Audiovisual Federation believes.
Part of the employers’ group Ibec, the Audiovisual Federation has submitted a proposal to the Department of Finance lobbying for the retention of Section 481 tax relief for the sector.
The submission drew heavily from the Indecon consultancy report into the sector which found "productions would locate elsewhere or not happen at all if tax relief abolished and that Section 481 delivered €2.4m net benefit to the exchequer in 2011".
The group said many productions would locate elsewhere or just not be made if Section 481 did not exist, leading to job losses in the sector which employs over 6,000 people. The group said that the incentive scheme should be retained and extended to 2020 to facilitate the lengthy investment cycles of production companies.
The Indecon report also found that of the 82 production companies it surveyed, just over half had used Section 481 and of those who had used it, 100% said it was their most important source of funding. Moreover, 32% of films produced in 2011 spent €1m in Ireland and 42% spent between €1m-€2m. The majority of television productions spent between €2m-€5m in Ireland. If Section 481 had not existed, many of those productions would have taken place outside of Ireland, the report concluded.
Audiovisual Federation director Torlach Denihan said: "It is estimated that the global audiovisual market will be worth €1.7 trillion by next year and will grow by 30% over the next five years.
"Section 481 has been crucial to the audiovisual sector’s growth from 700 jobs 20 years ago to over 6,000 jobs now... Should Section 481 be abolished or its effectiveness diluted, the viability of the sector will be eroded. It will be incapable of capitalising on the opportunities offered by the growing global market and both future investment and employment levels will diminish enormously."