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An Irish Fairytale

The landscape of Ireland’s County Wicklow is the stuff of fairytales. Throw in a bunch of generous incentives and this scenic treasure becomes an irresistible movie setting 

Fondly known as the Garden Of Ireland, County Wicklow with its breathtaking scenery, cultural delights and captivating locations is a county with a very diverse landscape and a varied coastline of sandy beaches, hidden coves and rugged cliffs. The adjoining counties are Wexford to the south, Carlow to the south-west, Kildare to the west and Dublin to the north.

Dotted around the hills and mountains is a mix of picturesque villages boasting a unique blend of classic country houses in large, well-tended estates characterised by lovely gardens and rambling parkland and wild countryside. County Wicklow is one of Ireland’s true scenic treasures with its magnificent mountains, tumbling waterfalls and dramatic lakes.

From eerie landscapes and the mighty convoluted caves to the rich culture that took thousands of years to develop – everything in this county invites filmmakers to capture the locations. As well as being historic, vivacious, green and multi-ethnic, County Wicklow’s outstanding locales look splendid when captured on celluloid. Keeping in mind that production houses need finance to make their films, the Ireland government offers a tax incentive of 28 per cent.


Similar to much of the rest of north-western Europe, Wicklow experiences a maritime climate with cool summers, mild winters, and a lack of temperature extremes. The average maximum January temperature is 9.2 °C, while the average maximum August temperature is 21.2 °C. On average, the sunniest month is May. The wettest month is October and the driest month is April. Wicklow is sheltered locally by Ballyguile hill and, more distantly by the Wicklow mountains. This sheltered location makes it one of the driest and warmest places in Ireland.


In 1993, Ireland invented the world’s first tax-based incentive for film and television. Years later, a new and improved Section 481, which is reliable and user-friendly, was introduced.

Ireland’s spend-based filming tax incentive is worth up to 32 per cent of eligible spend paid up front in cash on the first day of principal photography, net of all fees and requires no bank discounting.

Section 481 is not a transferable or refundable tax credit. The maximum budget per project against which Section 481 finance can be raised is Euro 70 million. There is no annual cap on the total amount of Section 481 available to incoming production.

To access the Section 481, you must partner with an Irish co-producer. Feature films, television drama, creative documentaries, animated film and television can qualify for the Section 481.

The main benefits of Section 481 are:

 Worth up to 32 per cent of Irish budget

Is available to the production on first day of Principal Photography

Does not require bank discounting

Is available to both film and television productions

Value is determined at the outset

Is in place until 2020

Single Instalment: On delivery of the project and submission of a compliance report to Revenue, payment of 100 per cent of the tax credit may be paid by Revenue within 30 days.

Two Instalments: First instalment being 90 per cent of the tax credit due, upon:

Financial Closing, including proof that 68 per cent of eligible expenditure is lodged to the project’s production account; Irish Film Board approval (IFB funded projects only); or Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) approval (BAI funded projects only); or where Revenue are provided with a guarantee, bond or similar banking instrument which secures the 90 per cent payment of the tax credit.

Second and final instalment being  10 per cent balance on delivery of the project and submission of compliance report to Revenue.

Other Fiscal Incentives

Corporation Tax

Ireland enjoys an EU approved Corporation Tax rate of 12.5 per cent which is the lowest in Europe. This applies to all corporate trading profits. This rate has been a focus of Ireland strategy to attract inward investment creating a favourable economic and fiscal environment which supports industry.

Tax Exemptions For Individuals

Individuals may locate in Ireland and enjoy tax-free income from their works under the artist’s exemption’ scheme. It can apply to writers, including scriptwriters, visual artists and composers. Where individuals become resident in Ireland they are entitled, on making a claim, to have their earnings arising from the publication, production or sale of books, screenplays, plays and musical compositions, disregarded for tax purposes where the work or works involved are original and creative and have cultural or artistic merit.

Zero Rated – Value Added Tax

VAT (Sales Tax) is applicable on the supply of goods and services within the EU. Film production may avail of zero rating under Section 13A of the VAT Act when the master negative is being exported.

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