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OPSTC 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.
Numbering may have changed.

As of February 2017

1. What is the rate?

2. How do I qualify for the grandfathering of the 25% OPSTC rate?

3. Is there a deadline in order to qualify for the grandfathering of the 25% OPSTC 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 25% OPSTC rate?

7. How do I qualify for the Transitional Grant?

8. Are productions that are only exhibited on online platforms eligible for the OPSTC?

9. When are eligible expenditures incurred?

10. If my qualifying labour expenditures are less than 25% of my Qualifying Production Expenditures, am I still eligible for the OPSTC?

11. If I lease a location for shooting in Ontario, either directly from the property owners or via an agent or broker,will those expenditures be eligible tangible property expenditures under the OPSTC?

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

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

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

15. Where can I get more information?


1. What is the rate?

The OPSTC is calculated as 21.5% of qualifying Ontario production expenditures. For qualifying production expenditures incurred on or before April 23, 2015 it is 25%. 

If your production company has incurred eligible expenditures after April 23, 2015 and before August 1, 2016, the 25% rate may be grandfathered if you meet certain criteria. The estimate provided by the OMDC on the Certificate of Eligibility will be based on the 21.5% 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 25% OPSTC rate?

Your company may qualify for the grandfathering of the 25% rate of your qualifying production expenditures incurred after April 23, 2015 and before August 1, 2016, if you are eligible for the OPSTC 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 production expenditure with a person that deals at arm’s length with your company and is:

i.      an agreement that is for the services of a producer, a director, a key cast member, a production crew or post-production crew, or
ii.     an agreement that is in respect of a studio located in Ontario, or a location in Ontario, or
iii.    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 in Ontario.

2.    Before August 1, 2015, your company applied to the OMDC for a Certificate of Eligibility for the production.

3.    Principal photography or key animation for the production started before August 1, 2015.

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3. Is there a deadline in order to qualify for the grandfathering of the 25% OPSTC rate?

Yes. Your company must have submitted your application for a Certificate of Eligibility for the production through the OMDC’s Online Application Portal (OAP) by July 31, 2015. OPSTC applications submitted after July 31, 2015 will not be eligible for grandfathering of the rate. The OAP can be found here: https://apply.omdc.on.ca/

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.

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5. How will grandfathering be administered?

The OPSTC is jointly administered by the OMDC and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). To be eligible for the OPSTC, 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 21.5% for OPSTC. Certificates of Eligibility will indicate that a higher tax credit rate will be available if your production qualifies for grandfathering.

In order to claim the OPSTC, 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.

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 25% OPSTC rate?

The grandfathering of the 25% OPSTC 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 OPSTC rate will be 21.5% 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”).

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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 satisfies all of the following criteria:

1.    Before April 24, 2015, your company has entered into at least one written agreement in respect of a qualifying production expenditure in respect of the production with a person that deals at arm’s length with your company and any of the following criteria are satisfied:  

i.      The agreement is in respect of services of a producer, a director, a key cast member, a production crew or a post-production crew.
ii.     The agreement is in respect of a studio located in Ontario, or a location in Ontario.
iii.    The agreement demonstrates, in the opinion of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, that your company has made a significant commitment to production activities in Ontario.

2.    Your company applied to the OMDC for an OPSTC Certificate in respect of the eligible production before December 1, 2015 and indicated in the application that you are applying for the transitional grant.

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

8. Are productions that are only exhibited on online platforms eligible for the OPSTC?

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.

9. When are eligible expenditures incurred?

They must be incurred for the stages of production after the final script stage to the end of post-production. In order to be qualifying production expenditures for a corporation’s taxation year, the expenditures must be incurred in the taxation year, paid in the taxation year or within 60 days after the end of the taxation year.

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10. If my qualifying labour expenditures are less than 25% of my Qualifying Production Expenditures, am I still eligible for the OPSTC?

Yes, however, if your company’s taxation year commences after April 23, 2015, your production’s qualifying production expenditures will be capped at no more than 4 times your qualifying labour expenditures. Labour expenditures include salary and wages and labour paid under an eligible service contract.

11. If I lease a location for shooting in Ontario, either directly from the property owners or via an agent or broker, will those expenditures be eligible tangible property expenditures under the OPSTC?

To qualify as an eligible tangible property expenditure, an expenditure must meet all of the conditions set out in subsection 92(5.7) of the Taxation Act, 2007. This includes the condition that the expenditure must be paid to a person or partnership that is ordinarily engaged in the business of selling or leasing tangible property of the type of tangible property acquired or leased by the corporation. Whether a person or partnership is “ordinarily engaged in the business” is determined on an objective basis by weighing all of the facts and circumstances of the particular business. The person or partnership selling or leasing the tangible property must be ordinarily engaged in the business of selling or leasing the particular property and the use of an agent or broker by the corporation claiming the tax credit or by the person or partnership selling or leasing the property is not relevant in making this determination.

12. 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 OPSTC 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

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13. 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 OPSTC administration fee will be calculated as 0.15% of eligible expenditures for the application. There is a minimum fee of $5,000 per application and a 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 end of the first fiscal year in which principal photography began. Where a year-end has not been included in the application, the additional fee will be applied to applications submitted more than 24 months after the start of principal photography. As well, there is a fee of $100 for each Amended Certificates requested.

14. 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

15. 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.