Issue 134 – The Joy of Section 481

S481

We’d like to tell you in 10 easy steps how you can make a wise investment, support Ireland’s film industry and bring much needed revenue into the country. But Section 481, whilst clever and useful, is not terribly easy to explain. Gordon Gaffney and a lovely informative diagram by Niamh Creely do their best.

Section 481 (S481) is an incentive scheme designed to promote investment in film by allowing tax relief for the investor. Prior to researching this article my knowledge of the scheme was a little like Grandpa Simpson’s grasp of American history in that it felt like I had pieced it together mostly from sugar packets.

Some of the discoveries I made include:

•    S481 is used to raise only part of an overall budget and not 100% of funding.
•    It can be used for low-budget (less than €1m) productions. Brian Gormley, a solicitor with Philip Lee Solicitors, recently worked on a €260k budget project that raised finance through S481 (although the net benefit can be lower on a low-budget production). So it’s not just for big budget productions such as Camelot.
•    It’s not all multi-millionaire investors avoiding paying tax at 41% on huge cash sums. According to Claire Raftery of Bank of Ireland, 95% of investors actually borrow some or all of the sum they invest.
•    It’s a tax break that instead of directly leading to zombie hotels or zombie banks can instead create actual zombies.

The full article is printed in Film Ireland magazine, Issue 134.
For Section 481 extras, links and resources click here.

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