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OCASE Frequently Asked Questions

*The February 2017 version of the FAQs has been updated:
- to advise of the new tax credit administration fee structure, effective April 1, 2017; and
- to confirm there is no change to the treatment of talk shows.

As of February 2017

1. What is the rate?

2. How do I qualify for the grandfathering of the 20% OCASE rate?

3. Is there a deadline in order to qualify for the grandfathering of the 20% OCASE rate?

4. How do I obtain a Minister's Opinion on my agreement?

5. How will grandfathering be administered?

6. What if my production had a written agreement with an arm’s length party before April 24, 2015 but my production did not begin principal photography or key animation until after July 31, 2015 – does my production still qualify for the grandfathering of the 20% OCASE rate?

7. How do I qualify for the Transitional Grant?

8. My production isn't eligible for OFTTC or OPSTC - am I eligible for OCASE?

9. Who can apply for an OCASE tax credit?

10. How does a producer on a live-action production make a Producer’s Claim?

11. Is 3D work eligible for the OCASE tax credit and how can it be claimed?

12. Are productions that are only exhibited on online platforms eligible for OCASE? 

13. When can I apply?

14. What is a Labour Schedule?

15. What does Prescribed Cost mean?

16. Do I need to submit the “Ontario Declaration of Residency/Consent Forms” to the OMDC?

17. Has there been any change to the treatment of talk shows for the purposes of the provincial tax credits?

18. What is the new tax credit administration fee structure?

19. I submitted my application before April 1, 2017, so will I be subject to the new tax credit administration fee structure?

20. Where can I get more information?


1. What is the rate?

The OCASE tax credit rate is calculated as18% of qualifying Ontario labour expenditures. For qualifying Ontario labour expenditures incurred on or before April 23, 2015 the rate is 20%.

If your company has incurred eligible expenditures after April 23, 2015, and before August 1, 2016, the 20% rate may be grandfathered if you meet certain criteria.

The estimate provided by OMDC on the Certificate of Eligibility will be based on the 18% rate, but it will indicate that a higher tax credit rate will be available for expenditures incurred on and after April 24, 2015 and before August 1, 2016 if your production qualifies for grandfathering in the determination of the Canada Revenue Agency.

2. How do I qualify for the grandfathering of the 20% OCASE rate?

Your company may qualify for grandfathering of the 20% rate on your qualifying labour expenditures incurred after April 23, 2015 and before August 1, 2016 if you are eligible for the OCASE tax credit and all of the following criteria are satisfied:

1. Before April 24, 2015 your company had entered into at least one written agreement in respect of a qualifying labour expenditure for an eligible production with a person that deals at arm’s length with your company and is either:

i) an agreement for digital animation or digital visual effects for use in the eligible production; or
ii) an agreement that demonstrates in the opinion of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, that your company has made a significant commitment to production activities related to the eligible production in Ontario.

2. Before August 1, 2015 your company notified the OMDC in writing of its intent to apply for an OCASE Certificate of Eligibility for the production.

3. Before August 1, 2016 your company must apply to the OMDC for an OCASE tax credit Certificate of Eligibility for the production.

4. Principal photography or key animation for the production commenced before August 1, 2015.

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3. Is there a deadline in order to qualify for the grandfathering of the 20% OCASE rate?

Yes, there are two stages and both have deadlines. First, your company must have registered on OMDC’s Online Application Portal (OAP) and submitted via the OAP the Notice of Intent to Apply for OCASE Grandfathering form by July 31, 2015. You would have received an acknowledgement message through the OAP. Only those companies which submitted their Notice of Intent by July 31, 2015 will be eligible to pass through to the second deadline. For the second stage deadline your company must submit the actual OCASE tax credit application by July 31, 2016.

4. How do I obtain a Minister's Opinion on my agreement?

If your company does not have a written agreement that satisfies the specific types of agreements listed above, you can request an opinion of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport as to whether another written agreement demonstrates that you have made a significant commitment to production activities in respect of the production in Ontario. Such a request should only be made if your company does not have an agreement that otherwise satisfies the criteria. Your company must have entered into this written agreement before April 24, 2015 in respect of a qualifying expenditure for the eligible production, with a person that deals at arm’s length with your company. 

If a determination is made that the agreement does demonstrate such a commitment, a notice of determination will be provided to your company. For inquiries regarding applications to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, please contact John Sanderson, Senior Policy Advisor, Culture Division, at 416-314-7140.

5. How will grandfathering be administered?

OCASE is jointly administered by the OMDC and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). To be eligible for OCASE, your company must apply to the OMDC. If your company is seeking grandfathering of the rates, you must have applied within the deadlines specified above. Certificates of Eligibility issued by the OMDC include an estimate of the credit, which is subject to verification by the CRA. The estimate provided by the OMDC is based on the revised tax credit rates of 18% for OCASE. Certificates of Eligibility will indicate that a higher tax credit rate will be available if your production qualifies for grandfathering.

In order to claim OCASE, your company must file its T2 return and Certificate of Eligibility with the CRA, together with documents supporting the grandfathering claim (i.e. the written agreement and if applicable, the notice of determination from the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport). The CRA will determine the total amount of eligible expenditures and the amount of tax credit that your company is eligible to receive, including whether your production qualifies for grandfathering. For questions relating to this, you can contact the CRA’s Film Services Unit of the Toronto Centre Tax Services Office at 416-973-3407 or 416-954-0542.

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6. What if my production had a written agreement with an arm’s length party before April 24, 2015 but my production did not begin principal photography or key animation until after July 31, 2015 – does my production still qualify for the grandfathering of the 20% OCASE rate?

The grandfathering of the 20% OCASE rate is available to those productions that meet the criteria listed above, including the requirement that principal photography or key animation must start before August 1, 2015. If your production has a written agreement of the kind listed above, before April 24, 2015 and the start of principal photography or key animation began after July 31, 2015 and before December 1, 2015 your OCASE rate will be 18% but you may be eligible for a grant that will provide partial relief from the rate reduction under the 2015 Ontario Production Services and Computer Animation and Special Effects Transitional Grant ("Transitional Grant").

7. How do I qualify for the Transitional Grant?

If your production doesn’t qualify for grandfathering, the transitional grant may provide partial relief from the rate reduction on qualifying expenditures incurred after April 23, 2015 and before January 1, 2017, if the production is eligible for the OCASE tax credit and satisfies all of the following criteria:

1. Before April 24, 2015 your company had entered into at least one written agreement in respect of a qualifying labour expenditure for the eligible production with a person that deals at arm’s length with your company and is either:

i) an agreement for digital animation or digital visual effects for use in the eligible production; or
ii) an agreement that demonstrates in the opinion of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, that your company has made a significant commitment to production activities related to the eligible production in Ontario.

2. Before December 1, 2015 your company notified the OMDC in writing of its intent to apply for the transitional grant in respect of the eligible production by submitting the form Notice of Intent to Apply for OCASE Transitional Grant found on the OMDC’s Online Application Portal.

3. Principal photography or key animation started after July 31, 2015 and before December 1, 2015.

A filing deadline for the OCASE tax credit certificate will be determined and communicated to affected companies.. 

8. My production isn't eligible for OFTTC or OPSTC - am I eligible for OCASE?

If all of your company’s eligible OCASE expenditures were incurred after April 23, 2015, the production must receive an OFTTC or OPSTC Certificate in order to be eligible for the OCASE tax credit.

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9. Who can apply for an OCASE tax credit?

OCASE applicants can be:

• Animation companies, Visual Effects houses, post-production companies or 3D Service Providers working under contract to the production’s producer.

• Production companies and production services companies which have performed activities directly in support of digital animation or visual effects (See “Producer’s Claim” Primer (link to Primer)

A qualifying applicant must be incorporated in Canada, file an Ontario corporate tax return and have a permanent establishment in Ontario where animation or visual effects activities are performed.

The labour being claimed must have been paid by your company for employees or freelance individuals.  If you have hired a visual effects service provider, they will be the OCASE applicant for the labour they have paid. 

There may be more than one OCASE applicant on a production as more than one company may have performed eligible digital animation / visual effects activities. OMDC will issue a Certificate of Eligibility to each eligible company for their own expenditures.

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10. How does a producer on a live-action production make a Producer’s Claim?

If the production is live-action and a portion of the work is related to digital effect creation, such as labour for blue or green screen shooting, plate shots, digital scanning, motion capture or other mechanical work, the producer can make a direct OCASE claim for these costs. These claims would only include a portion of the applicant’s costs for activities directly in support of the production of an eligible visual effect. For example, a producer that wishes to make an OCASE claim for such work could divide the VFX related shooting time by the total shooting time and apply that percentage to the eligible labour. 

Only labour costs directly in support of the creation of the visual effect or animation would be eligible. Labour costs for drivers, catering, production office staff and other peripheral personnel are not eligible. As a general rule of thumb, key roles and first assistants that contribute directly to a shot onto which a digital visual effect will be applied are eligible. Roles that do not contribute directly (i.e. are not involved in a hands-on way) will be ineligible. Generally, supervisors and coordinators would not be eligible. 

Please refer to the “Eligible Positions for a Producer’s OCASE Claim” posted on our website for the list of the conventional cast and crew that can be included in this type of claim. (See the Downloads sidebar at http://www.omdc.on.ca/film_and_tv/tax_credits/OCASE.htm ). As well, please review this primer on how to make a Producer’s OCASE Claim:

-         The Primerpdf icon

11. Is 3D work eligible for the OCASE tax credit and how can it be claimed?

Both the shooting of a live-action production in 3D, as well as converting a 2D production into 3D are eligible activities under OCASE. 
On a live-action production shot in 3D, a producer may make an OCASE claim provided that there was work performed during filming on shots that are later manipulated for depth perception and other VFX properties. Only labour of the crew associated with manipulating the stereoscopic image, that is, only labour over and above what would be needed in a conventional 2D shoot, is eligible under a Producer’s 3D OCASE Claim. 

A visual effects house or post-production house must be under contract with the producer in order for their work on a live-action 3D shoot or a conversion project to be eligible. Note that some conversions from 2D to 3D are carried out years after the original production was produced. If the production is being converted for a re-release by a different company than the original production company, the VFX/post-production house will not be considered to be under contract with the producer and that scenario would not qualify for the OCASE tax credit.

12. Are productions that are only exhibited on online platforms eligible for OCASE? 

Productions that are only exhibited online through a service which provides content to the end user for a purchase, license or subscription fee are eligible for the credit. Examples of such over-the-top streaming services are Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime and Hulu.

13. When can I apply?

OCASE is based on your fiscal year.  Your claim must be based on actual expenditures, not projections, so you should submit your claim after the close of your financial year when all eligible activities are completed and a DVD of the work done is available.   You may include any eligible productions with work done in that fiscal year, so there may be several projects claimed.  If one production spans several years, you may include it on successive applications, as long as you claim only actual payments made within the fiscal period relevant to each application. 

The OMDC does not impose a deadline for OCASE applications, but there are taxation deadlines that may preclude receiving a tax credit for your year.  Please check in with the Canada Revenue Agency if you’re unsure whether you’re still eligible to file or amend your corporate tax return.  (Canada Revenue Agency Film Services Unit:  (416 973-3407)

Please note: Effective January 1, 2017, there is an additional filing fee of $100 applied to applications for Certificates of Eligibility received more than 24 months after the year-end of the claim.

Please note: Effective January 1, 2017, there is a fee of $100 for amended Certificates that are requested.

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14. What is a Labour Schedule?

This is the itemization of the labour expenditures that you’re claiming on each production.  It is a list of the eligible roles being claimed, detailing the amount paid for each job, clearly broken down as follows:  

Employee labour “Wages” (T4 salaries and wages of employees);
Unincorporated freelance labour  “Unincorporated Remuneration” (paid to arm’s-length individuals who are not employees of the corporation); and
Incorporated freelance labour “Incorporated Remuneration” (paid to arm’s-length, single-shareholder corporations for work rendered by that shareholder).

If you have reduced the labour claim for any category by a percentage, then please include a column that shows that percentage/reduction.

If you are a producer making a Producer’s Claim for live-action filming, please refer to the primer for the additional information that we will require. (link to Primer)

15. What does Prescribed Cost mean? 

“Prescribed Cost” is the term used in the OCASE legislation to mean your total cost to produce the animation or visual effect, including labour and non-labour, within the claimed fiscal year.  The prescribed cost does not have an effect on your OCASE calculation, though it is used to determine the relative impact of any assistance you may have received on a production. 

16. Do I need to submit the “Ontario Declaration of Residency/Consent Forms” to the OMDC? 

No, we generally do not want to see these declarations as part of our review.

17. Has there been any change to the treatment of talk shows for the purposes of the provincial tax credits?

Talk shows have always been ineligible to receive the OCASE tax credit and this continues to be the case despite recent Federal changes to the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. The Ministry of Finance issued a bulletin on January 11, 2017, which confirms this treatment of talk shows. See link.

18. What is the new tax credit administration fee structure?

Effective April 1, 2017 there is a new administration fee structure for tax credits which will offset the costs of administering the program. The OCASE tax credit administration fee will be calculated as 0.15% of eligible expenditures for the application. There is a minimum fee of $500 per application and maximum fee of $10,000 per application.

As previously announced, effective January 1, 2017 there is an additional filing fee of $100 applied to applications for Certificates of Eligibility received more than 24 months after the year-end of the claim.  As well, there is a fee of $100 for each Amended Certificate requested.

19. I submitted my application before April 1, 2017, so will I be subject to the new tax credit administration fee structure?

The new tax fee structure will be applied to tax credit applications received on or after April 1, 2017.

The additional filing fee and fee for Amended Certificates are separate from the new fee structure. These fees will be applied to older tax credit applications received on or after January 1, 2017 and requests for Amended Certificates received on or after January 1, 2017.

20. Where can I get more information?

If you have further questions, please contact the phone duty line by e-mail taxcredits@omdc.on.ca, or call us at 416-642-6659. Please leave a detailed message including your name, company, phone number and the file about which you are inquiring. There is a different person on phone duty every day, and he/she will respond to your email or call within one business day.

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