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Iceland Increases Film Tax Incentive to 35 Percent

The country puts itself in a position to go toe-to-toe with other international filming hot spots.
June 17, 2022

As seen in Hollywood Reporter.

Hollywood is looking at a new sizable handout from Iceland.

Iceland’s film commission on Thursday announced it’s increasing tax breaks to movies and television projects that shoot in the country from 25 percent to 35 percent, launching it into the upper tier of international filming locations when it comes to incentives. Productions that qualify for the uncapped credits will be reimbursed for all costs incurred in Iceland.

Only productions that shoot for at least 30 working days in the country, create 50 local jobs and have a minimum budget of $2.7 million will qualify for the 35 percent incentive. Other productions can still apply for a 25 percent tax credit.

Iceland in 2016 raised tax breaks from 20 to 25 percent. With the most recent bump, the country puts itself in a position to draw major productions from countries experiencing shortages of stage space. Iceland’s tax incentive program stacks up against the likes of the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and Italy, among other countries that attract large productions because of their robust tax credits. Ireland, which gives a rebate up to 37 percent, and Italy, which gives a refundable credit of up to 40 percent, are among the handful of countries that provide the entertainment industry more in incentives.

“I would say 35 percent definitely puts Iceland in the top tier of European and international incentives now,” says Joe Chianese, senior vp and practice leader at Entertainment Partners, a Los Angeles-based group that advises companies and state film offices on how to set up and structure tax incentives programs. “On top of fact that they have no annual cap, their program opens up the opportunity to draw a lot of larger productions.”

One question will be whether Iceland has the film infrastructure to support major productions. Icelandic production company RVK Studios this year is building two new stages, bringing the studio total to three.

“Iceland has been investing in infrastructure over the past few years, and our resources make the country particularly attractive for major blockbuster films,” says Einar Hansen Tómasson, Iceland’s film commissioner. “Experience is everything when it comes to keeping these larger productions competitive, on time and budget. Our highly skilled crews can service every need from location scouting to post-production, and we can support sustainable production practices through Iceland‘s renewable energy sources.”

Chianese says one indirect benefit of drawing major productions will be getting Iceland’s local crew trained on larger projects.

Major projects that shot in the country include 'The Northman', 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story', 'Game of Thrones' and 'The Witcher.'

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