Film tax offsets - definition of a 'documentary'

This consultation process has now been completed. Submissions available
Consultation Type
Draft Legislation

Key Documents

The Assistant Treasurer has released draft legislation and explanatory material for inserting a definition of ‘documentary’ into the tax law, for purposes of the film tax offsets.

In the 2012-13 Budget, the Government announced its intention to update the legislation governing the Producer Offset, to include a definition of ‘documentary’ and related terms.  On 5 July 2012, the Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP and the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon David Bradbury MP issued a joint media release providing further advice to supplement the guidance set out in the Budget announcement.

Applying the definitions and directions set out in the Australian Communications and Media Authority Documentary Guidelines: Interpretation of ‘documentary’ for the Australian Content Standard, the draft legislation:

  • defines documentary as a creative treatment of actuality other than an infotainment program, lifestyle program or magazine program; and 
  • requires that Screen Australia, the body administering the Producer Offset, consider the extent and purpose of any contrived situation featured in the film, the extent to which the film explores an idea or theme and the extent to which the film has an over-arching narrative structure, when determining whether the film is considered to be a documentary.

The draft legislation also adds ‘game show’ to the list of light entertainment programs explicitly excluded from eligibility for the film tax offsets, clarifying the original intent of the offsets.


12 submissions were received for this consultation, including 2 confidential submissions.

ASTRA - pdf 1.45 MB
Free Tv - pdf 301.79 KB
Intomedia Pty Ltd - pdf 106.84 KB
Merewether Janet - pdf 316.53 KB
Merewether Janet - rtf 62.24 KB
PD Film and TV - pdf 200.14 KB
SBS - pdf 299.75 KB
Screen Australia - pdf 110.37 KB