What exactly is the Tax Shelter?

A fiscal incentive designed to support the cinema and performing arts in Belgium.

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A brief history…

In 2003, the Belgian government adopted measures designed to allow the tax-exemption, under certain conditions, of investments made in the audiovisual sector by companies. These measures were transcribed into Belgian law under Article 194ter of the Income Tax Code (1992 CIR). In 2017, this law was extended to cover the “performing arts”.

In the course of these 15 years, the legislator has made certain changes to the legislation, always with the aim of cementing the legal framework and simplifying its mechanism.

Since 1 January 2015, the reformed version of the Tax Shelter has been in force, making the system much simpler and clearer.

Growing success

The Tax Shelter has enjoyed uninterrupted success, with thousands of Belgian firms using it for operations worth around 200 million euros per year.

The funds gathered from Belgian companies are used to finance Belgian or European films which incur production expenditure in Belgium. Since the launch of the Tax Shelter system, the volume of audiovisual productions filmed in Belgium has more than doubled.

For the government, the system’s financial efficiency is tried and tested. According to a study by the Catholic University of Leuven (UCL) conducted in collaboration with SCOPE Invest, the tax breaks granted to Belgian companies are more than offset by the tax revenue generated by the production expenditure attracted to Belgium.

So having demonstrated its positive impact for its three contributors (investors, audiovisual professionals and the Belgian state), the Tax Shelter system has established a sustainable place among the country’s effective fiscal measures.

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