The Rebate

What is the Abu Dhabi Production Incentive Scheme (“the Rebate”)?

The Rebate is an incentive scheme that provides a refund of up to 30% of Abu Dhabi Qualifying Production Expenditure (ADQPE) to Production Companies producing part or post-producing all of their productions in Abu Dhabi.

When did the Rebate start?
The Rebate became effective as of 1st September 2012.
Who will administer the rebate?
The Rebate will be administered by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (“ADFC”).

Before The Application

Who are the existing production service partners in Abu Dhabi and how do I get a hold of them?
There is a list of Abu Dhabi registered production service companies on our website.
Does a project have to be filmed in Abu Dhabi to apply for the Rebate, or can Post Production (or PDV) costs qualify?
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.
When should an application be made?
Applications for the Rebate should be received at least 20 days before commencement of principal photography in Abu Dhabi and 40 days if there are script approvals required from the National Media Council. Principal photography must start within 60 days of Issuance of the Interim Rebate Certificate by ADFC. Please note that applicants must obtain an Interim Rebate Certificate during pre-production (i.e. before commencing principal photography).
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 should be provided within 20 days of submission 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. In order to obtain an approximate indication of the level of the Rebate to which they may be entitled, applicants can provide all the necessary financial information (including budget, shooting schedule and predicted ADQPE) in advance of submitting a full application.

The Application Process

Where do I submit my completed Application Form?
One soft copy (electronic) and one hard copy of the completed Application Form, with all required documentation, should be sent to: Abu Dhabi Film Commission P.O. Box 77809 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates [email protected]
Once we have received the necessary approvals and submitted the full applications, how long will it take to receive an Interim Certificate?
Once all relevant information has been received, and the application has been approved, an Interim Rebate Certificate should be issued within 20 working days.

Calculation & Qualification

How will the Rebate be calculated?
The Rebate is based on 30% of the total value of ADQPE for the preproduction, production, and/or post production of the project. Our website hosts an ADQPE worksheet for the applicant to fill in.

Spend Details

What type of labour costs qualify for the Rebate?
Labour costs relating to contracting with Abu Dhabi registered crew and services; per-diems of up to US $100 per person per day for activities in Abu Dhabi; and below-the- line crew for the period for which the services are provided in Abu Dhabi. The Guidelines provide more detailed information about ADQPE.
Do Above-the-Line costs qualify?
Fees paid to above-the-line personnel (executive producers, producers, directors, casting directors, talent agencies, consultants, stunt performers and screenwriters) do not qualify as ADQPE.
Do travel and accommodation costs qualify for the Rebate?
International travel costs do qualify for the Rebate if booked via a travel agency located in the Media Zone – Abu Dhabi. Accommodation booked in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi qualifies.
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 office costs, including capital purchases, qualify as ADQPE?
General business overhead costs do qualify as ADQPE but only for payments to authorized Abu Dhabi-registered suppliers and to the extent that they are wholly incurred in respect of the production in Abu Dhabi. 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 are generally not eligible.
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 Abu Dhabi is greater than the Interim Rebate Certificate, the greater amount may be paid – subject to the appropriate audit being carried out. If changes to the production affect the budget whereby the total ADQPE is likely to vary by +/- 20% or +/- 1,000,000 AED (whichever is smaller) from the Interim Certificate value and/or changes are made to creative personnel, cast, and/or filming locations), the Applicant must notify ADFC in writing at the time of making such changes and confirm with ADFC whether implementing them may affect the eligibility of the production for a Rebate.
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 has an obligation to offer training and to provide internship opportunities.

Audit & Payment Of The Rebate

Who will do the audit for the Final Certificate?
Independent auditors, with experience in the entertainment industry, must be approved by ADFC to carryout the final audit, as well as to verify the ADQPE and the Audited Expenditure Statement.

How long does it take to receive the Rebate?

The applicant must submit the final completed application documents within 90days of completion of the production or post production work in Abu Dhabi. Upon receipt of all of the required documentation, including the Audited Expenditure Statement, ADFC will take approximately 20 days to carry out the final assessment. If there are no questions or additional information required, the Rebate will be paid to applicant within 60 days of the issuance of the Final Certificate.