Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia animation tax credit settled on third try

The province of Nova Scotia has presented what it hopes is the third and final set of figures to explain changes to the film tax credit, and it looks like animators will be spared the big cuts imposed on traditional filmmakers.

Two senior officials with Department of Finance said both sides agreed to new figure

Diana Whalen got into a testy exchange with a reporter who pressed her repeatedly on why the numbers for the digital media tax credit changed. (CBC)

The province of Nova Scotia has presented what it hopes is the third and final set of figures to explain changes to the film tax credit, and it looks like animators will be spared the big cuts imposed on traditional filmmakers.

At issue was a bonus for animation-related salaries.

The confusion started Tuesday when both a government release and a fact sheet posted on the provincial Finance Department's website touted an extra 25 per cent bonus on eligible animation labour-related costs.

That bonus was supposed to be in addition to the 25 per cent rebate for production costs in the province.

By Thursday, the fact sheet has been changed to reflect a less generous labour-related bonus.

"A 25 per cent bonus on 50 per cent of animation-related labour will apply," said an adjusted fact sheet from the Department of Finance.

Finance Minister Diana Whalen tried to explain the error away outside the legislature on Friday.

Testy exchange

She got into a testy exchange with a reporter who pressed her repeatedly on why the numbers changed, but she would only repeat how complex the issue was.

"It's a complex formula, a mathematical formula. Clearly there was a misunderstanding even between our staff and the people who sat at the table, so it has been clarified and they are working on it now." Whalen said Friday.

On Friday afternoon, two senior officials with the Department of Finance said both sides have agreed to a new figure — 17.5 per cent of all "animation-specific activities."

When the costs are broken down, animation studios are expecting to receive roughly the same rebate next year as they'll get this year.

"I can tell all Nova Scotians that they will be operating under a system that virtually unchanged from what they had before," Whalen said.

The new deal means the province will continue to pick up the tab for about 55 per cent of the salaries of animators.

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