- Which expenses are considered eligible?
General rule: all production expenditures, either provided by persons or companies, qualify as QPPE if they are subject to tax liability in Portugal. Production expenditures related to production activities carried out in Portugal but contacted in another EU member state qualify as QPPE until the limit of 20% of total QPPE. Expenditure related with development and postproduction qualifies as QPPE.
For feature films, eligible expenditure should fall within the following budget lines:
Above-the-line: COPYRIGHT AND ROYALTIES; PRODUCER FEES; DIRECTOR FEES; MAIN ACTORS.
Bellow-the-line: TECHNICAL TEAM; ARTISTIC TEAM; SOCIAL CHARGES; TRAVEL, STAYS AND TRANSPORTATION; CENOGRAPHY; TECHNICAL MEANS; IMAGE AND SOUND SUPPORTS; IMAGE LABORATORY; FILM EDITING; MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTION EXPENDITURE; INSURANCE AND MISCELLANEOUS; PRODUCER’S STRUCTURE COSTS.
VAT (Value Added Tax) - the Portuguese company will deduct the amount from its own VAT liability. In the case of negative liability a refund is claimed. The refund right is acquired within a maximum period of 9 months.
- Which are the tax requirements for foreign cast and crew?
The expats tax regime only applies to foreign cast and crew that stay in Portugal for more than 180 days/year (so they can be considered as residents), benefiting from a Personal Income Tax flat rate of 20% (plus 3.5%) for 10 years.
When cast and crew stay in Portugal is shorter, and if a bilateral convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (DTA – Double Taxation Agreement) is applicable, cast or crew can choose to be paid in Portugal or in their foreign fiscal residence:
Paid in Portugal and taxed in foreign country – these expenses will not be considered eligible expenditures for cash rebate purposes.
Paid in Portugal and taxed in Portugal – 25% Personal Income Tax flat rate for non-residents. These expenses will be considered as an eligible expenditure for cash rebate purposes.
- Where can I find information about customs and visa issues?
Customs: equipment arriving by plane is cleared from the airport on the same day. Equipment arriving by ship takes less than 1 week to clear customs.
Visas for foreign cast and crew: Visas may be required for 90 days stays, which can also be extended for the same period. MORE INFO
- How do I get Film Permits?
Film permits are issued by local authorities (municipalities) or by the owners of the locations (public or private).
Portugal has created a Portugal Film Commission that gives support to producers across several governmental departments as to ensure swift action and access to all the different locations.
Several regional/local film commissions are already in place, covering all regions of the territory.
- What is the available stage space?
Studios are available in the Lisbon and Porto area: from 600 to 1500 m² (6500-17000 square feet) with maximum ceiling height of 6.7 – 8.2 m (22 to 27 feet).
Professional stages with all proper conditions.
Portugal is creating conditions for more studio facilities – there are several opportunities in the Lisbon region.
- What is the available cast and crew in Portugal?
Local cast with professional training able to supply a permanent high demand.
Portuguese crews are used to work in international productions and have a large experience in film and TV productions as well as in high end commercials.
Portugal is home to a full range of professional categories of specialized technicians and crew members whom are accustomed to work in international co-productions. From Gaffers, Key-Grips, Location Scouts and Managers, AD’s, Art Department Crew, Production and Camera Crew who are fluent in English and with good command of Spanish and French. Due to a large development of the cinema and related creative industries in Portugal, professional crews are in sufficient number as to accommodate multiple, 10 to 20, feature film productions simultaneously.
- What is the available equipment in Portugal?
Portugal boasts a large lighting and grip rental inventory with technical solutions to every kind of production, whether it is a major Feature Film or any TV Production. Portuguese rental companies have all the main market brands in tandem with a large selection of specialty items, all available in the Lisbon area and in the whole county, namely:
ELECTRIC – The Electric equipment processes all rental orders involving HMI, Tungsten, Dimming, LED, Kino-Flo Florescent Lighting and Cable and Distribution. We can supply each and every project with all kind of lights from all major brands;
GRIP – The Grip equipment and machinery and all the rental orders involving, i.e. Dollies, Cranes, Tracks, Trussing, Car mounts, Camera Cars, Grip Stands, Parallels, Frames, Grip Carts, Scaffolding, Pipe, Iron, Overheads and Flags, Ladders, Wood and Cloth inventory. We can supply each and every project with all the large variety of Grip Gear required;
What are the available post-production studios in Portugal?
There are several companies in Portugal with the capacity to post-produce all type of movie contents; color-grading, vfx, motion design, 3d animation and sound design.
How can I find local production services companies?
Most production companies in Portugal have a solid track record of working with foreign partners (in coproduction) or clients (as services providers).
A list of the production companies in Portugal can be found here.
- If I want to apply to the Portuguese Cash Rebate Incentive, are there any limitations to screenplay content ?
The incentive is automatic and expenditure-based but, as the cash rebate is granted pursuant European Union regulation, eligibility of projects and rates (25%-30%) are evaluated through a cultural and economic test analysis grid. Thus, the Portuguese Film Institute needs to read the screenplays, in order to evaluate content items.
Note that all applications and documents (including screenplays and other copyright protected material) are processed internally by the Portuguese Film Institute officials only, who are bound by a strict public service rules on reserve, confidentiality on all documents.
No other considerations apply concerning content. No censorship. The only exclusions are films whose content is advertising, propaganda or pornography. Films that intentionally promote racism, xenophobia, violence, or other values manifestly contrary to the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Portuguese Constitution and in International Law.