What is the Abu Dhabi International Production Incentive Scheme (“the Rebate”)?
The Rebate is a production incentive scheme that provides a refund of up to 30% of Abu Dhabi Qualifying Production Expenditure (ADQPE) to International Production Companies producing part or all of their productions in Abu Dhabi.
When does the Rebate start?
The Rebate scheme is effective from 1st September 2012.
Who is eligible for the Rebate?
International Production Companies working with Abu Dhabi registered companies.
Who can apply for the Rebate?
The applicant can be either the International Production Company through a partnership with a Media Zone- Abu Dhabi registered entity or the Abu Dhabi entity directly. Only one entity per screen production can apply.
Do you need an Abu Dhabi based co-producer or production services partner?
Yes. The Rebate is only valid if the production has a Media Zone- Abu Dhabi registered entity involved in the production, facilitation of the production or post-production work in Abu Dhabi.
Who are the existing production services partners in Abu Dhabi and how do I get a hold of them?
There is a list of Abu Dhabi registered production services companies on the ADFC website.
Who will administer the rebate scheme?
The Rebate scheme will be administered by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (“ADFC”).
What type of productions may qualify for the Rebate?
• Feature films
What types of productions do not qualify for the Rebate?
When should an application be made?
Applications for the Rebate should be received at least 20 days before commencement of production in Abu Dhabi and up to 40 days if there are script approvals required from the National Media Council. Filming or production must start within 60 days of receipt by the applicant of the Interim Rebate Certificate.
Can we get an initial decision on the script prior to submitting a full application?
If there is content that requires the approval of the National Media Council, then a preliminary approval on the script can be requested prior to completing the full application. If script approval is requested, a response on the script should be provided within 20 days from receipt of the script.
Can we obtain an indication of the possible level of Rebate that our production is entitled to before submitting a full application?
Yes, applicants can provide all the necessary financial information including budget, indicative shooting schedule and predicted ADQPE in advance of submitting a full application in order to obtain an approximate indication of the level of the Rebate they may be entitled.
What is the application process
Once we have received the necessary approvals and submitted the full applications, how long will it take to receive an Interim Certificate?
If all relevant information is included in the application, a decision and, if approved, the issue of an Interim Rebate Certificate should be made within 20 working days of receipt of the full application.
What documents are needed as part of the full application?
For feature film or long form productions:
For TV and factual projects:
Examples of the type of expenditure that will not qualify as ADQPE ?
• Financing expenditure
Does a project have to be filmed in Abu Dhabi to apply for the Rebate or can Post Production (or PDV) costs qualify?
No, projects do not have to be filmed in Abu Dhabi to qualify for the Rebate. Projects that are using Abu Dhabi based post production services as part of a co-production or facilitation agreement can also apply for the Rebate.
What type of expenditure qualifies as ADQPE for the rebate?
Production expenditure incurred in Abu Dhabi or that is attributed to making the screen production in Abu Dhabi including on location, studio filming or post production facilities. This may include expenditure that is directly related to the production of the project that is purchased or sourced through Abu Dhabi based companies and, in some cases, equipment that is purchased outside Abu Dhabi but used in Abu Dhabi. The Glossary and Guidelines provide more detailed information about ADQPE.
How will the Rebate be calculated?
The Rebate is a 30% cash Rebate based on the total value of ADQPE for the production or post production of the project. The qualifying spend is initially calculated from the budget and estimates supplied by the applicant on the planned expenditure in Abu Dhabi which is directly attributed to producing the project.
Does a certain percentage of the crew have to be from Abu Dhabi?
There is not a required percentage, however, every project receiving the Rebate will have an obligation to offer training and intern opportunities whilst filming in Abu Dhabi.
Do Above the Line costs qualify?
An allocation of Above the Line regional talent costs may qualify for the Rebate to a maximum of 50,000 USD per project. Costs attributed to Above the Line talent who are Emirati nationals will qualify for the full 30% Rebate, excluding Executive Producers.
Do shipping charges qualify?
Air Freight charges qualify if booked through an Abu Dhabi company. However, applicable customs charges and bonds levied on the temporary importation of goods do not qualify for the Rebate.
Do travel and accommodation costs qualify for the Rebate?
Temporary accommodation costs in Abu Dhabi as well as international travel booked on Etihad Airways or private charter aircraft based in the Abu Dhabi qualify for the Rebate.
Do office costs, including capital purchases qualify as ADQPE?
Production office expenses in the UAE will qualify for the rebate, such as rent and service charges, general stationery and supplies, leased office equipment (if sourced in Abu Dhabi) and costs associated with the day to day running of the office. Costs associated with hospitality or events are not eligible. Capital purchases for any equipment will not be eligible.
How do we obtain a Final Certificate to qualify for the Rebate?
On completion of the activities in Abu Dhabi the applicant must submit the following for the final assessment of the ADQPE for the Rebate:
• An Audited Expenditure Statement prepared by an independent Certified Auditor and not an employee of the applicant company or its subsidiaries;
What is the minimum spend? Is there a cap on the rebate paid?
The following is the minimum spend amounts in USD:
Post Production Spend
What if we spend more in Abu Dhabi than planned, will the extra expenditure qualify?
The final audit will confirm the overall ADQPE and the amount of the Rebate. If the estimated production spend in the Abu Dhabi is greater than the Interim Rebate Certificate the greater amount may be paid, subject to the appropriate audit being carried out.
Who will do the auditing for the Final Certificate?
ADFC will approve the independent auditors that have experience in the entertainment industries to carryout the final auditing and verification of the ADQPE and the Audited Expenditure Statement.
How long does it take to receive the Rebate?
On completion of the shoot or post production activities in Abu Dhabi, the applicant must submit the final application documents within 30days. It will take approximately 14 days from receipt of the documentation and audit statement to carry out the assessment. If there are no questions or further information needed, the Rebate will be paid to the Abu Dhabi production company within 45 days.
What currency will the Rebate be paid?
The Rebate will be paid in AED Dirhams to the Abu Dhabi entity. Any exchange rate calculations will be made on the day of issuing the Final Rebate Certificate although the United Arab Emirates Dirham is pegged to a US dollar rate and remains a consistent conversion calculation.
What guarantee is there that the Rebate will be paid?
The Interim Rebate Certificate and accompanying Agreement is a commitment to the production company that the Rebate will be paid, subject to a final audit and assessment of the ADQPE amount.
Are UAE commissioned projects eligible for the rebate?
Projects commissioned by a UAE based company, entities, broadcasters or Government Departments are not eligible for the rebate. Projects that can evidence they are co-productions between a UAE production company and an international partner may be eligible for the Rebate.
We have taken over the project from another company. Can earlier costs be eligible for the Rebate?
Only actual costs incurred in Abu Dhabi are eligible to qualify for the Rebate. The costs of acquiring the project are not eligible.
Does the UAE have co-production treaties?
Currently there are no co-production treaties in force. However, the Rebate is available for international productions looking to co-produce with an Abu Dhabi based producer/production company.