Your guide to production in South Korea
Insider knowledge, essential details, and first-hand tips on filming in South Korea.
The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) offers up to 25% cash rebate on foreign audio-visual works production expenditures incurred for goods and services in Korea. However, to engage in business activities for profit in Korea, you must register your production as a business at the national tax office. After you are registered, you have to adhere to Korean tax laws.
Feature films, television series and documentaries produced by a foreign production company, in which the allocation of foreign capital in the production cost exceeds 80%. Eligible works must satisfy the following requirements:
20% Rebate: Shoot no less than 3 days and spend 100 million ~2 billion KRW (approx. $100K-$2million USD) in Korea.
25% Rebate: Shoot no less than 10 days and spend no less than 2 billion KRW (approx. $2 million USD) in Korea.
Productions must receive approval from the Review Committee who will evaluate the following three elements:
1) the degree to which the work promotes tourism ("tourism expansion")
2) the degree to which the work contributes to the Korean film industry ("quantitative contribution")
3) the extent to which the foreign producer participates in the production of the work ("foreign engagement")
To find out more please visit the Korean Film website.
Korea has a strong network of regional film commissions. As of 2010, 10 regional film commissions cover all major cities and provinces, providing film-friendly environment for film productions. One regional film commission is the Seoul Film Commission (SFC), which offers a 25% cash rebate on production costs for film & TV productions shot in Seoul. The Cap at 100,000,000 KRW (approx. $85,000 USD) can be lifted for projects with extraordinary high marketing value.
To find out more please visit the Korean Regional Film Commission website.
Film Production Rebate
A rebate (or grant) is funds paid to the production company based on the amount of qualifying expenditures, or jobs created in the state or country by the project. The production company does not need to file a tax return for rebates.
Film Refundable Tax Credits
A refundable tax credit is similar in function to a rebate, however, the production company must file a tax return to claim it, and receive a credit for taxes owed. Tax credits can sometimes be used as collateral to obtain a loan so that the production company receives an advance, which is usually discounted.
Film Transferable Tax Credits
A transferable tax credit may be sold or assigned to a local taxpayer. Some states offer transferable tax credits, which allow production companies to sell or get a refund for tax credits that they are not able to use. Many times brokers are used to perform these transactions.
Film Non-Refundable, Non-Transferable Tax Credits
This type of tax credit can be used to offset a production company’s current tax liability, and can be carried forward for a set time, but not transferred to third parties.
The information stated herein is for reference only and based on a source using data as of November 2015. Make sure you consult a qualified tax adviser and professional who is familiar with tax incentive programs to determine the best fit for your project.