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Canada’s Okanagan offers a landscape to die for with tax benefits galore

The Okanagan, also known as the Okanagan Valley and sometimes as Okanagan Country, is a region located in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC). It is defined by the basin of the Okanagan Lake and the Canadian portion of the Okanagan River.

Okanagan’s population is 3,50,927 and its primary city is Kelowna. The region is known for its dry, sunny climate, landscapes, lakeshore communities and a particular lifestyle. The valley stretches from Sicamous to the American border. The Okanagan region includes the Boundary Country, Similkameen Country and Shuswap, as well as the Okanagan Valley itself.

A recreational destination, full of freshwater lakes, rolling hills, grasslands, mountains, forests and Canada’s only desert, the Okanagan Valley has something for everyone: Hoodoos, orchards, vineyards, mountains, valleys, lakes, highlands, ski slopes and trails. This is truly one of the most desirable locales in British Columbia for film shoots.

Climate

Like much of Southern BC, the Okanagan enjoys a mild climate, although the Okanagan is considerably drier than many other areas. Areas in the north end of the valley receive more precipitation and cooler temperatures than areas to the south. Generally, Kelowna is the transition zone between the drier south and the wetter north. Vegetation also ranges from cactus and sagebrush in the south, to Cedar and Hemlock trees in the North.

Incentives

Okanagan region falls under Film Incentive British Columbia (FIBC). FIBC is a refundable corporate tax credit. When filing tax returns, production corporations may claim a specified percentage of the labour costs incurred on making film, television, digital animation or visual effects productions. The credits are applied to reduce tax payable and any remaining balance is paid to the corporation.

Components are as follows:

• FIBC Basic: 35 per cent of qualified British Columbia labour expenditure of the corporation.

• Regional: 12.5 per cent of the qualified British Columbia labour expenditure of the corporation pro-rated by the number of principal photography days in Okanagan outside of the designated Vancouver area to the total days of principal photography in Okanagan. This tax credit is accessed in conjunction with the BASIC tax credit.

• Distant Location Regional: 6 per cent pro-rated by the number of days of principal photography filmed in the Okanagan/Similkameen/Boundary Regions to the total days of principal photography in BC. This credit is accessed in conjunction with the Regional tax credit.

Canadian Federal Tax Credit with FIBC

The objective of the CFTC is to encourage Canadian programming and to develop an active domestic production sector. This fully refundable credit is available at the rate of 25 per cent of the qualified labour expenditure of an eligible production.

British Columbia Tax Credits -PSTC

The British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) encourages film, television and animation production in BC and can be accessed by a broad range of foreign productions.

• PSTC basic tax credit of 25 per cent of qualified labour costs.

• Distant Region Tax Credit of 12 per cent per cent pro-rated by the number of days of principal photography filmed in the Okanagan/Similkameen/Boundary Regions to the total days of principal photography in BC.

Canadian Federal Tax Credit with PSTC

The PSTC is designed to enhance Canada as a location of choice for film and video production employing talented Canadians, as well as strengthen the industry and secure investment. The PSTC is available at a rate of 16 per cent of qualified Canadian labour expenditures.

Production

The vast array of locations provides an incredible choice and diversity for productions. In addition to the exceptional service and cost-effective tax incentives, there are further benefits for producers choosing to shoot in the Okanagan. The region offers efficient and affordable networks with Lower Mainland production equipment and service suppliers as well as a comprehensive human resources database of experienced cast and crew who reside in the Okanagan.

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