Tuesday, 29 May 2012

OMDC offers guidance on project grants and tax returns with independent publishers

OMDC offers guidance on project grants and tax returns with independent publishers
24 May 2012, TORONTO
Investing time in applying for tax credits and grants may be highly valuable for small publishers, said two Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) officials at an Independent Publishers Association of Ontario (IPAO) meeting in Toronto on Thursday, May 17, 2012. Matt Hilliard-Forde, who oversees industry initiatives for magazines at the OMDC, spoke about the types of grants available to small publishers through the magazine fund in ODMC’s industry development program. 
OMDC's Matt Hilliard-Forde
OMDC's Matt Hilliard-Forde
 

Hilliard-Forde spoke extensively about the magazine fund’s programs for traditional and digital initiatives, including eligibility, funding levels, stipulations about “in-kind” work and the judging process. A pilot program on digital publications is also currently being considered.

One IPAO member spoke up about a project rejected for funding due its inconsistent mix of non-Canadian content. “It’s a competitive fund so there’s never enough money to go around to everyone,” responded Hilliard-Forde. “Criteria like that does matter.” The magazine fund gave out a total of $2 million last year, with the average ask being 55 percent of a total project.

Scrapbook and Cards Today publisher Catherine Tachdijan said OMDC funding was crucial to the success of her early issue launches. “A year out of the gate, we’re a young magazine, and it enabled us to do a lot that would have probably taken us four or five years to get to.”

ODMC business officer Michael Olivier was also at the meeting to speak about tax credits for areas like digital media, marketing, and other expenditures. Tax credits are done on the end of the fiscal year; you can file every two years, there’s no deadline and you can go back as far as 2006-2007. You have to be in good standing with the OMDC.

Olivier also gave practical information on application deadlines and the rise in processing time. “In 2011 we had twice as many applications as we had in 2010 and we don’t have any more staff to deal with it.”

Despite this staffing shortage and the increased competition for grants, Hilliard-Forde encouraged interested Ontario-based publishers to contact him by phone, email or at an upcoming MagNet OMDC information session for more help and guidance about possible projects. “We’re aware of the work that goes into an application,” he said.

Since the OMDC has to review every submitted project proposal, Hilliard-Forde admitted it’s not exactly fun reviewing an application that’s not well put together. “We have a vested interest in making sure what comes through the door is in decent shape.”

“It makes our job a lot easier”, added Olivier.

Hilliard-Forde said the most important part of the application process for project grants was clarity of purpose. “We’re looking a project that makes sense for your company and you have to make that case for us.”

And while the process may seem arduous for many businesses already overwhelmed with work, Tachdijian insisted it was worth the effort. “Take the time to do it because the money is there.”

Matt Hilliard-Ford will be at MagNet at 8 a.m. on Wednesday June 6, 2012 for the OMDC breakfast, where he will present high-level findings, dates of the magazine fund and minor changes to program evaluation. The breakfast is open to everyone and does not require Magazine Canada membership or MagNet registration. Coffee and small pastries will be available.

— Karen K. Ho

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