Vibrant, lively and colourful, the Caribbean nation of Puerto Rico welcomes filmmakers with loads of filming opportunities and generous financial incentives
Puerto Rico is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States located in the Caribbean and contemporary America. For decades, this place has been in political turmoil due to its constitutional status. Its culture also mirrors this split – where some locals espouse modern US statehood while others want outright independence.
Famous for its tropical beaches, sunsets, Latin music and dance, Puerto Rico reflects the stark difference in cultures adopted by its citizens. There is an amalgamation of ancient and modern everywhere – hip and happening restaurants spread across old Spanish forts, enormous shopping malls and glittering casinos juxtaposed against warm beaches, and stunning coral reefs. With tech-savvy workers, impressive locations, US-style services and a 40 per cent incentive, this country is ideal for filming and post-production.
Located in the tropics, Puerto Rico has an average temperature of 28 °C throughout the year, with an average minimum temperature of 19 °C and maximum of 30 °C. Temperatures do not change drastically across the seasons. The temperature in the south is usually a few degrees higher than the north and temperatures in the central interior mountains are always cooler than the rest of the island.
Studios & Post-Production
Studio production and post-production facilities have come a long way and all kinds of amenities and top-notch equipment are available for rental in Puerto Rico. Skilled labour is also available in plenty.
Production Tax Credits
Preferential Tax Treatment
Persons engaged in qualifying film projects are eligible for the following preferential tax rates or exemptions:
Qualifying film projects: feature films, short films, documentaries, television programmes, series in episodes, mini-series, music videos, national and international commercials, video games, recorded live performances and original sound track recordings and dubbing.
Which projects are eligible?
At least 50 per cent of principal photography has to be in Puerto Rico or at least $ 1million should be paid to Puerto Rican residents. The credit can apply to non-Puerto Rican shoots if $ 700,000 is spent on Puerto Rican crews shooting abroad. A local production service company or consultant would have to do a Puerto Rican production budget before shooting.
Ways to access the tax credit
The Government of Puerto Rico, through Act No 362 of December 24, 1999, known as the Puerto Rico Law for the Development of the Film Industry, offers a tax credit equivalent to 40 per cent of budget items paid to Puerto Rico entity or resident or up to 50 per cent of the cash invested as equity in the project.
In order to ascertain the amount of tax credit that will be certified, you need to have a Puerto Rico budget. There are some production services companies or local UPMs available that you can to do this. You can advance 50 per cent of the estimated tax credit before shooting. In order to get the advance, you need to provide a letter of credit or a completion bond.
The tax credit is an incentive for investors in a Film Entity dedicated to producing a film project in exchange of stock or unit participations. There is a requirement that the Film Entity organises its financing structure in Puerto Rico. There are local tax consultants that could assist you in this process and will do this work for you.