- What is DGCINE?
The Dominican Republic Film Commission (DGCINE) is a decentralized institution in the Dominican Republic, with legal personality, with administrative, financial and technical autonomy, attached to the Ministry of Culture. The DGCINE was created in 2010 as a result of the enactment of Law No. 108-10, and is in charge of promoting and encouraging the development of the national film industry, administering the tax incentives programs, facilitating and coordinating with local public institutions the issuance of all necessary permits for local and foreign productions, and in general positioning the country as a filming destination and developing the local film industry.
- What is the incentive for foreign productions?
The Dominican Republic offers a Transferable Tax Credit (TTC) equal to 25% of all qualifying expenses incurred in the Dominican Republic that are directly related to the preproduction, production and postproduction of their films. The credit may be transferred in favor of one or several Dominican taxpayers. Up-front monetization solutions are also available in the country.
*The tax credit cannot be transferred for less than 60% of its face value.
- What type of projects are applicable to the TTC?
Feature Films, Documentaries, TV Series & Mini-series, Music Videos and Short Films.
- What is the application process for the TTC?
The process starts with either engaging a local production service company or registering a company in the Dominican Republic, as the expenses must be incurred by a company registered in the Dominican Republic and with a Dominican Tax ID. Therefore, foreign producers can either: 1. Engage the services of a local production company that is registered at the DGCINE, (please feel free to ask for a list of registered companies) which will execute the expenses and apply for the TTC on behalf of the foreign production company, or 2. Register a company at the Dominican Chamber of Commerce, obtain a Dominican Tax ID, and register it at the Film Commission. Once the expenses are executed in the DR, an audit report and the supporting documentation are filed at the DGCINE for the application of the TTC and thereafter approved by the Film Intersectoral Board (CIPAC) and issuance by the Dominican Tax Authorities.
- Is there a minimum qualifying spend?
- What happens if my project doesn’t meet the minimum spend?
Applicant is allowed to accumulate multiple projects to reach the minimum qualifying spend.
*Projects must be produced by the same entity during the same fiscal period.
- What can be considered a qualifying expense?
All expenses incurred in a project’s pre-production, production and post-production, after receiving a Shooting Permit (SP). The list of qualifying expenses is quite broad and can be verified HERE. Also, at least 25% of the crew must be Dominican nationals.
*The Film Commission has the ability to adjust this percentage as deemed necessary.
- Are foreign cast and crew eligible for the incentive?
- How long does it take to get a Shooting Permit (SP)?
The Film Commission will reply to the applicant producer's request within 10 days of receiving the SP application and the required documentation has been submitted.
- How long is a Shooting Permit valid for?
The SP will be issued for the time period of completing production or 2 years maximum, upon the producer’s request.
- Do I need any other type of permits?
In order to be able to film in public spaces, public buildings and roads you will need the approval from local authorities. The Film Commission will process the approval with the appropriate local authorities.
- What about expenses incurred prior to receiving a Shooting Permit (SP)?
Expenses pertaining to the development & preproduction incurred prior to receiving a SP will be admitted if the exact amounts are included in the budget that was submitted with the application for the SP.
*Expenses must be executed according to approved budget.
- Are cost over-runs admitted?
Changes to any creative or financial details in a production must be previously approved by the Film Commission. Cost over-runs will be admitted as long as the proper authorization has been granted.
- Do payments to loan out companies qualify?
Payments to loan out companies do qualify as applicable expenses given that it is the channel used to contract services from an actor. However, the loan out company will be subject to a 27% government-withholding requirement since the payment is made for services provided by an individual working in the Dominican Republic.
*Production Company will get 25% Tax Credit on gross amount paid to Loan Out Company.
- Are there any excluded expenses?
Expenses pertaining to distribution & marketing of the film are excluded, as well as financial costs and costs relating to completion bond and insurance policies unless these are acquired through a company with its main domicile in the Dominican Republic.
- Is there a per project cap?
- Is there a cap on the whole TTC incentive program?
According to Art.4 of Law No. 82-13, the total cap for the tax credits is equal to 10% of the previous year’s total income tax revenue. For reference, in 2021 the total income tax collected was RD$607,446,400,000, which would be around USD$11,249,007,407.4. Meaning the cap for this year would be USD$1,124,900,740.74. The foreign spent for 2021 (our highest so far, and probably the same for 2022) is around USD$250,000,000.00. As you may tell from these numbers, it's realistically difficult and close to impossible to reach the cap.
- What is the loan out withholding?
1.5% reduced withholding rate to payments made to foreign cast and crew that come to the Dominican Republic.
- Is registration required of all foreign cast and crew that is intended for the purpose of the qualifying spend?
Yes. The registration process at the DGCINE is online, fast and simple, with the help of local production companies.
- Will foreign cast and crew lose their union rights because they are paid via the DR company?
No. The DR company only works as a paying agent, the employment contract will still be with the foreign producer.
- Is an audit required?
Yes. We’re happy to provide you a list of providers that have worked with productions that have submitted applications under the TTC.
- Is screen credit required?
Yes, the approved National Cinematographic Seal (logo) must be included at least in the end roller credits.
- Can producers bring their own equipment?
Most necessary film equipment can be sourced locally from suppliers, with the help of local production companies. In the Dominican Republic you will find: Alexa Cameras, Ultra Prime Lenses, Anamorphics, Arrimax HMIs, Techno Cranes, etc. However, specialty equipment such as motion control and pursuit arms and helicopter mounts, gimbals and SFX gear might need to be imported.
The SP allows producers to bring in temporarily without paying regular import taxes the equipment for a period of 6 month, which may be extended as long as the items are exported or sent back by the end of the production. The Film Commission will process the temporary import permit with the customs authorities.
- When can I request the tax credit?
The credit may be requested in respect to partially or completely executed budgets, as long as the expenditures at the moment of the request are equal or exceeding USD$500,000.
*Expenses incurred in the Dominican Republic must be audited by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- What is a CPA audit?
It is an official financial inspection performed by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as an external authority that validates financial information against generally accepted accounting principles, ensuring all applicable accounting standards are followed.
- Can my Transferable Tax Credit Certificate application be refused?
The Film Commission will notify the applicant producer if objections regarding compliance with the established requirements arise. If the producer doesn't reply to these objections and re-submit the relevant documentation within the next 30 days, the TTCC application will be refused by the Film Commission's approval committee.
- Does the Shooting Permit guarantee the tax credit?
A SP will enable an applicant producer to apply for the incentives but does not automatically guarantee that you will obtain the transferable tax credit. Changes to any financial details of the project may affect the producer's compliance with the application requirements and may result in refusal, unless the modification has been previously approved by the Film Commission.
- What happens if my Transferable Tax Credit Certificate application is refused?
The producer may appeal by requesting the Film Commission's approval committee to reconsider this decision. In order to do so, a new audit must be performed in which the committee's specific objections will be exclusively revised.
- How long is the Transferable Tax Credit Certificate valid for?
The certificate is valid for 4 fiscal periods. The certificate may be transferred at any time during the valid periods.
- What are the costs associated to getting the incentive?
- An audit, ranging from USD$10,000 to USD$25,000, depending on the size of the project
- Tax Credit Management Fee, ranging from USD$10,000 to USD$20,000
- Registration of every foreign crew and cast member into SIRECINE (Dominican Film Commission database), which costs USD$20 for each cast and crew member, and USD$40 for director and producers.
- How long does it take to sell the tax credits?
The timeline from the end of the production audit to the selling of the tax credits ranges between 10 and 14 months. Other financial Information pertaining to Film Production in the Dominican Republic
- Is there VAT in the DR?
Yes, it’s called ITBIS.
- What is it applicable to?
It’s applicable to all local labor and expenses, except providers registered as exclusive film providers (Studio Services and Film Equipment Rental Houses).
- Is ITBIS refundable?
No, it should be considered as part of the costs. But it is an eligible cost for the Tax Credit.
- Are there any exemptions?
The DR Film Law contemplates that eligible Dominican registered suppliers can invoice without the 18% VAT (ITBIS).
- What’s the local currency and exchange rate to the USD?
Dominican Peso, currently at 54 per US Dollar.
- How many projects are made in the DR every year?
In 2021, there were 44 local projects, and around 40 foreign projects shot. There were also over 30 short foreign projects (such as commercials, music videos) shot in the DR.
- What foreign companies have shot in the DR?
In the last 5 years, MGM, Disney, Netflix, NBC Universal, Heyday Films, Annapurna, Turner, See-Saw Films, Revolution Studios, Paramount, MJZ and many others.
- Do you have post-production facilities?
Yes. Amongst them: Pulpo Post, Aurora Color Post, Chipotle Chillon Films & Post, Colorshot, La Nave Post Lab, Lone Coconut Studio, Sonoro Post House.
- Do you have construction teams for set construction?
Yes. Local producers will source necessary crew in the DR.
- Are there any fringes for crew?
No fringes, only the 18% ITBIS/VAT.
- How do foreign crews hire other crews?
With the help of local production companies.
- Are there any unions in the DR?
- Where is most of the Dominican available crew based?
Santo Domingo, the capital city.
- Is bilingual crew available?
- What ethnic diversity does exist in cast?
The population of the Dominican Republic is predominantly of mixed African and European ethnicity, and there are small black and white minorities. Additionally, a small percentage of Asian, Arabs, and other ethnicities.
- Do you need a visa to work in the DR?
Depending on nationality. if coming from the USA, UK, Europe, Canada, Mexico, all you need is a visitor’s visa which your airline’s fare will include, and you’ll be allowed to stay for 30 days. Any additional time will be acquired by buying the extended visa on exiting the country. For example, an extra 60 days costs USD$50.
- What airlines fly to the DR?
The most frequently used airlines to the Dominican Republic are American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit, Frontier, Copa Airlines, United Airlines, Iberia, Alitalia, AeroMexico, British Airways, Air Canada, West Jet, Air France.
- Are there any direct flights from Los Angeles?
Not currently. You have to fly via Miami, NYC, Atlanta, Mexico City or Panama City.
- Where are the direct flights from?
The main cities are Miami, NYC, Atlanta, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Frankfurt and Mexico City.
- How to manage hotel stays?
Local production companies will arrange hotel reservations.
- Country infrastructure?
The Dominican Republic is the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean, receiving over 6M visitors each year. Therefore, the hotel industry is very developed, with more than 75,000 hotel rooms around the island. There are over 30 five-star hotels, highways between the main cities, 7 international airports, shopping malls, and food from all over the world.
- Public transport and self-drives?
Driving in the DR is fast, and it is recommended not to use self-drives. Public transport is limited.
- Are there any vaccinations required and/or recommended to enter the Dominican Republic?
No vaccinations are required or recommended for entering the DR.
- What’s the climate in the DR?
June is the hottest month with an average temperature of 28◦C (82◦F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 25◦C (77◦F).
- When is hurricane season?
Officially from June to November.
- When is the best time to shoot in the DR?
Films are made all year around. The best weather is from November to March.
- Do you need hurricane insurance to shoot in the DR?
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