Creative Finance Techniques That Work in Film Tax Credit Financing in Canada

If your production in film, television or digital animation requires financing then Film Tax Credits in Canada are solid ways to augment your overall finance plan. In order to finance your credits your tax credit certificates must of course qualify for Canadian content in the appropriate categories and must satisfy the rules set out by Ottawa and your province relative to personnel and production costs.

In the last couple years the government has made a commendable effort to streamline the application processes for film tax credits and we must remind readers that these credits apply equally to the television and digital animation areas.

In the digital animation areas you might also be eligible for SR&ED credits under what is known as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development program. This is without a doubt Canada’s largest program for tax credits, far surpassing the film, TV and animation area

Financing of productions can be very traditional or very creative, but without a doubt tax credits can play a key role in either total finance strategy. Typically productions are financed in the following manner: Non studio producers, i.e. the independents arrange distribution and pre-sales of the project. Typically you are entering into an agreement to give the other party the rights to display your production via TV, DVD, etc in that particular geography.

Many pre-sales budgets we have seen show a best case and worst case pre-sales scenario. The pre-sale financing are, in effect, promissory notes to your special purpose entity for this production. The next financing challenge is to ‘finance’ those promises to pay for a number of different finance entities, including banks, specialized firm finance firms in Canada, etc. In Canada 2 or 3 of the nations banks are somewhat actively involved in this area – while others shun the industry as too high risk for traditional lending.

You of course are also required to post a completion bond covering cost over runs and the ultimate completion of your project.

Film tax credit financing is one of the final elements of your overall finance strategy. Your tax credit is, in Canada, in essence a government subsidy, so why shouldn’t you take advantage of it. Tax credits finance a very large part of what is known in the industry as the ‘below the line ‘budget. These are, in effect, your actual production expenses.

You therefore must ensure your production qualifies for the right expenses, and typically those are validated by an accountant or firm with entertainment accounting experience. By utilizing a Canadian actor component, as well as technicians and other resources you have set your project up to both qualify for the tax credits, and, then more specifically to cash flow or sell these credits.

In order to finance your credits you should have an overall finance plan, and a strategy for the equity and debt components of your production. Validate your budgets and ensure your productions have the required ‘points’ in order to qualify. Film tax credits can be financed on filing, or, more popularly, as you spend funds, which are then reimbursed via the tax credit financing.

Speak to a trusted, credible, and experienced film tax consultant around your ability to maximize and capitalize on this critical strategy within ‘Hollywood North’, aka Canada!

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What If Inventory Financing Lenders Were the Solution to Your Cash Flow Based Financing

Just what if your firm had a significant inventory component and you had access to cash flow and working capital against that inventory investment in working capital that your firm has made.

A proper inventory financing facility in Canada is one in which you can draw down on a satisfactory level of your inventory value and repaid it as you replenish capital via account receivable and cash collections. Your success in achieving a proper inventory financing component in your overall business financing in effect optimizes your working capital to the extent you need to.

How would your overall financial position change with that additional working capital and cash flow? You would then have the ability to take on additional contracts and purchase orders, your supplier relationships would most probably improve, and faster asset turnover of assets and receivable generates faster profits and return on assets. Those are good things.

The main advantage of an inventory financing or A/R financing component is your ability to accelerate cash flow. Let’s be honest, if you were self financing (i.e. no borrowing facilities) and had to wait for inventory to be sold and receivables collected then you are significantly slowing your growth ability.

In the context of the inventory financing we are discussing this financing is not a loan per se – that’s important to understand. It becomes a part of your revolving facility and is simply collateralized by receivables and inventory.

Your inventory financing arrangement is reflected in a type of document generally known as borrowing base certificate. We also advise our clients that it is highly preferable to have a strong handle on your inventory reporting, and also you should preferably be using some sort of a perpetual inventory accounting system.

Inventory is a very generic term, we hate to do it but we complicate things further by discussing with clients the fact that inventory can consist of raw materials, work in process, and of course final finished goods inventory. As a result the valuation of what is financed varies by industry and inventory type. Slow moving or highly specialized product is much more difficult, but not impossible, to finance.

Could you be more competitive and profitable if you have inventory financing at 40-50% of your gross inventory value – we are pretty sure you could be!

On larger transactions you should fully expect some sort of initial appraisal and valuation on your inventory.

In Canada inventory finance is highly specialized, we can almost call it a niche financing. Speak to a trusted, credible, and experienced business financing advisor to determine if this financing works for you. Through that process you should be able to develop a clear understand of the differences between bank financing, asset based lending, which incorporates inventory finance, and purchase order financing if that is applicable to your business model.

At this point you are now in a position to ensure that inventory financing advances are a great way to acquire mfr and carry inventory for orders and contracts you receive

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A Different Solution for Business Inventory Financing

We feel sorry for you. Your firm is not in the service industry. They are the lucky ones with respect to inventory financing – there is no inventory! Unlike your business, which produces goods and carries inventory to meet customer order needs your services firms have no storage requirements!

If your firm has an investment in inventory then financing for that asset is often, if not always, vital. Financing via bank credit lines for the inventory component of your balance sheet is always difficult, if not in some cases impossible. Most business owners and financial managers know that of your two major current assets ( receivables and inventory ) that banks prefer receivable, aka a/r financing.

So how do you finance your inventory, and what are the requirements to get such a facility in place? The reality is that every business is different and your firm will have different categories of inventory – most commonly they are raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods.

Inventory financing in Canada is most often financed under an ABL facility. What is ABL is the next question our clients always ask. The acronym stands for asset based lending, and is a specialized type of financing that is mostly carried out by non bank institutions. Facility sizes tend to range from 250k and up, as it is not really economical for all parties (you and the lender) for finance amounts much under that.

Your ability to control, report, and purchase inventory most economically are key drivers in an inventory financing decision made by your inventory financier. Your ability to monitor, stock, and produce and bill and collect are the basic requirements for an inventory financing facility. We would point out that in many cases this facility also includes a receivable component, because, as we all known, inventory flows into a receivable which flows into… dare we say it… cash!

If you are unable to finance your inventory properly you can very easily get into what can best be describe as a ‘ cash trap ‘- and that’s not a good trap to be in. Typically each one thousand dollars of inventory on hand can cost you between 150 and 250 dollars per year when you take into account some obvious and not so obvious factors such as financing costs, storage, handling, insurance, and deterioration of the inventory which by its necessity forces you to do an asset write down.

The irony is of course that you can have too much inventory or too little, it’s a balance act.

When you arrange inventory financing you want to ensure you have reasonable levels of product – so you need to focus on both financing cost and order costs.

If you have inventory financing fast efficient turns are potentially more possible and you annual carrying costs can be dramatically reduced- don’t forget that the cash you invest in inventory could be put to work elsewhere and in many cases earn, for example, at least 12% more in profits. That’s a very typical number for a manufacturer.

Financing inventory is a challenge – you want to be able to take advantage of volume discounts, but at the same time limit your investment in inventory while satisfying customer order needs. Whew! That’s a real teeter totter don’t you think?!

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced business financing advisor who can guide you through inventory financing in a manner that supports your business and industry. Beating the inventory financing challenge is a solid financial accomplishment.

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Creative Financing – Mortgage Notes and Other Tools

PROBLEM

Since early 2006 to the present our financial system in this country has been in disarray and significantly crippled. Hundreds of banks have already failed and been closed; hundreds more have been forced into mergers (shotgun marriages) with stronger banks; hundreds more are operating as “zombie” institutions-they look like banks and they try to act like banks but they cannot make loans. Most of the “too big to fail” banks based in New York, California, or Atlanta appear to be operating normally, but the truth is they are not lending to the “little guy”. They are lending to the publicly traded corporation primarily. In plain English, getting a loan from a bank for the average borrower is next to impossible.

SOLUTIONS

- Don’t operate your business or don’t do the transaction
- Pay all cash-don’t borrow
- Borrower from non-banks-friends, family and private lenders
- Do transactions using non-traditional methods-creative financing

JUST WHAT IS “CREATIVE FINANCING?

Creative real estate financing is an all-inclusive term. It essentially means arranging a transaction whereby any and all types of financing is considered to do the deal. Most or all of these types of financing happen to fall outside of the standard government mandated banking guidelines and restrictions. The financing vehicles considered do not conform to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, or other HUD guidelines.

Examples of “creative” financing vehicles are: Private Party Financing, Seller Financing, Bank lending that does not comply with the HUD guidelines, Exchanging Equities, Lease with Option Financing, Contract for a Deed Financing, Equity Sharing Financing, Home Equity Financing, Credit Card Financing, and any combination of the above.

EXAMINING “CREATIVE FINANCING” TOOLS INDIVIDUALLY

Of all of the various types of creative financing tools mentioned above the most common and the most easily understood is private party mortgage financing, which includes seller financing.

The underlying concept is that the bank is not involved in the transaction and the private party lender takes the place of the bank. There are many advantages to removing the bank form the transaction. The main benefits are:

- Qualifying (accepting) the borrower is the decision of the private party
- Qualifying (accepting) the property is the decision of the private party
- The interest rate and the monthly payment is the decision of the private party
- The maturity date of the loan (balloon date) is the decision of the private party
- The down payment amount is the decision of the private party
- The time necessary to close the loan is much shorter
- A valuable, long-term stream of income is created
- The interest earned may be higher than any other available investment

All of these benefits, when combined, make private party mortgage financing a very powerful tool to cause a transaction to close that otherwise would have failed. And, additionally, they may offer investment benefits not elsewhere available.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN

Now, after examining the benefits of private party financing, we should, in fairness, look at the negative aspects. No tool is the perfect tool for all jobs, and no type of financing is the perfect type of financing for all transactions and for all people.

The negative aspects are summarized below:

- Emotionally, not everyone is comfortable waiting for monthly payments
- Emotionally, not everyone is comfortable with financial details
- Emotionally, not everyone is comfortable with a risk of loss
- Emotionally, not everyone is comfortable doing something new
- Practically, a lump-sum of cash may be needed now

MAKE IT A WIN-WIN TRANSACTION

It is very important to honestly and objectively evaluate each part of the financing transaction. The goal is to make it be a win-win transaction for both parties. Are the personalities of the borrower and the lender compatible? Has the note and mortgage been properly structured so that there is a high probability that the borrower can meet his obligations over the term of the loan? Has the lender anticipated accurately his future need for cash flow income and lump-sum income?

As with most important things, the devil is in the details!

In subsequent articles we will examine some of the other types of “creative financing”.

Lawrence Tepper specializes in:
PROMISSORY NOTE SERVICES, VALUATIONS AND BROKERING EXPERT WITNESS AND EXPERT CONSULTING SERVICES OFFERED

EDUCATION AND TRAINING
1956 Law Degree/Accounting Minor from University of Denver
1961 to Present Colorado Real Estate Broker Specializing in Promissory Notes
1984 Certified Commercial Investment Member Designation From National Assoc. Realtors

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Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

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What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

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