Making the Movie

20Jul/0610

Tax Credits for Filmmakers – By U.S. State, Territory and Canadian Province

These here United States and Canadian Provinces are always competing with each other to see who can give filmmakers the biggest tax break. I thought I'd gather all the official links in one place for the benefit of the interwebs. Perhaps someone with more time and tax knowledge can put together a program that lets you plug in the variables of your production and then recommends which state has the optimum package. For now, this will perhaps get you started. Check out the links at the bottom of the page for even more resources.

WARNING: Since the economic downturn of 2008, many states have cut their filmmaking tax breaks. Be sure to confirm information is still current before incorporating it into your film budget. (And just because it is on an official state website doesn't mean a program still exists, sadly.)

U.S. Film Incentives and Tax Credits

Alabama
Alabamafilm.org - sales and use tax exemptions depending on size of budget

Alaska
Alaska Film Program - a new incentive program for productions that spend more than $100,000 in "qualified" purchases that starts with a base of 30%, gets an additional 10% for hiring Alaskan crew and there is 4% more you can get for shooting rurally and in a specific season. (Maybe they got upset seeing The Proposal shoot in Massachusetts and pretend it was Alaska.) [Thanks to commenter J. Welt for the tip-off on the new program.]

American Samoa
IRS on American Samoa's taxes - no sales tax

Arizona
New Film Incentives - 10-20% income tax credit, use exemptions

Arkansas
Arkansas Dept. of Economic Development - refund of state sales and use tax

California
California Film Commission - California is where "runaway" productions are running away from. To fight back, the state offers 20%-25% credits but they are capped at $100M, which gets used up quickly.

Note: The city of San Francisco (filmsf.org) also offers incentives specific to that city. [via reader AC]

Colorado
Colorado Film Commission incentives - Hotel Tax refund

Connecticut
CCT: Connecticut Digital Media & Motion Picture Tax Credit - 30% for budgets over $50,000

Delaware
Delaware Film Office - Incentives - no sales tax, other tax exemptions.

District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)
film.dc.gov - no incentives I could find

Florida
filminflorida.com - 15% cash reimbursement

Georgia
filmgeorgia.org - use and sales tax exemptions

Guam
No incentives I could find, but here are some tax forms.

Hawaii
Hawaii Film Office - 15%-20% refundable production credit (.pdf detailed explanation)

Idaho
Idaho Film Bureau - rebate of the 5% sales tax for budgets of $200,000+

Illinois
Department of Commerce
Incentive Breakdown - 20% tax credit on Illinois salaries, 20% of production spending

Indiana
Film Indiana - fee free locations, 15% tax credits

Iowa
As of Sept. 2009, Iowa has suspended their tax credit program, pending an investigation.

Kansas
Kansas Film Commission - 4.9% reimbursement, no tax on lodging

Kentucky
KentuckyFilmOffice - 6% sales and use refund

Louisiana
louisianaentertainment.gov/film/ - sales, labor and investor tax credits
UPDATE 2/21/11: This program has had issues with fraud but it still appears to be running.

Maine
filminmaine.org - Wage tax and income tax rebate, no state sales tax on qualified items, reimbursement on lodging taxes, no taxes on fuel

Maryland
Maryland Film Office - 5% sales tax exemption

Massachusetts
massfilmbureau.com - 20-25% tax credits

Michigan
MHAL - tax free lodging, 9% tax credit for films under $15M
UPDATE 2007 - Michigan offers an up-to-20% tax rebate to $5-10M films and slightly less to films all the way down to films that spend $200,000 in Michigan. First the double bottle deposit refund, now this! O Michigan, you profligate!
UPDATE 7 December 2012: Michigan's incentive program is currently being reined in and the film industry there has suffered, according to this NYTimes article.

Minnesota
mnfilmandtv.org - sales tax exemption, free scouting, free office space (!)

Mississippi
Film Incentive Packet (.pdf) - 10% rebate, 10% tax credit, and various exemptions including for expendables
Official Mississippi Film Guide

Missouri
Missouri Film Commission - 35% credit capped at $4.5M UPDATE 3/5/2010 Rep. Jason Grill has sponsored a bill to raise the cap from $4.5M to $10M, but it's not on the legislative calendar yet. [Thanks to readers J.P. Hunt and S. Light.]

Montana
Montana Dept of Commerce - 12% on Montana labor, 8% on qualified expenditures
Montana Film Office

Nebraska
FilmNebraska.org - no film incentives
UPDATE 2/21/11: John Schreier of the Omaha World-Herald writes that Nebraska is considering adding incentives for the fifth or sixth consecutive year. Maybe they'll pass it this time!
LAST UPDATED 4 August 2013.

Nevada
Nevada Film Office - According to Deadline, starting Jan. 1, 2014, Nevada will offer "productions that shoot at least 60 percent in-state and spend $500,000 to $40 million there" "a transferable tax credit worth 15%-19% of their in-state qualified expenses up to $20 million".
LAST UPDATED 13 June 2013.

New Hampshire - No permits! No Sales Tax, Personal Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax or Use Tax (for anyone in New Hampshire).
Film & Television Office - Incentives

New Jersey
NJfilm.org - 20% Tax Credit

New Mexico
New Mexico Filming Incentives - 25% Tax rebate, $2M+ films are eligible for a loan

New York
NYlovesFilm.com/tax.asp - 30% production credit, 10% post-production for qualifying projects. New legislation took effect in August 2010 so be sure to check out the new qualifications. [Updated June 2011 thanks to reader tip.]

North Carolina
North Carolina Film Office
Charlotte Regional Partners - "Production companies that spend at least $250,000 in North Carolina with respect to a motion picture or television production are eligible to receive tax credits up to 15% of in-state spending for goods, services, and labor." [Hat tip to reader B. Silbert]
UPDATE 9/8/11: A commenter says the credit has upped to 25%!

North Dakota
Nothing I could find. They will mail you a film guide.

Northern Marianas Islands
They apparently have a Film Office or are considering adding one. I can find no online link for it.

Ohio
ohiofilmoffice.com - as of February 2011, a 25-35% credit with some common restrictions

Oklahoma
OklahomaFilm.org - incentives doubled in July of 2009 to 17% cash back on productions over $500,000

Oregon
OregonFilm.org - 20% rebate and additional cash payment up to 16.2% of wages

Palau
palaufilm.com - Claims there are tax incentives but there are no specifics on the site. It does say that the Palau film commission was abandoned in 2007, and so filmmakers are encouraged to work with local company Roll 'Em Productions in negotiating the complex government and clan permitting system.

Pennsylvania
25% credit to films that spend at least 60% of total production budget in PA.

Puerto Rico
40% transferable tax credit - they also have lodging tax waivers and free locations

Rhode Island
RI Film - 30% transferable credit with a minimum budget of $300,000

South Carolina
South Carolina Film Office - Incentives - State and local use and sales tax exemption for movies spending $250,000+, plus incentives for establishing a post-production facility
Charlotte Regional Partnership - 20% off labor, 30% off supplies for $1M+ movies [Hat tip to reader B. Silbert]

South Dakota
South Dakota Film Office - sales tax exemption, lower lodging tax

Tennessee
13/15/17% tiers

Texas
Texas Film Commission
Incentives Program - As of 2013, Texas offers "5% to 17.5% of eligible Texas spending or 8% to 29.25% of eligible wages paid to Texas residents, depending on budget levels and types of productions". Their legislature has voted to triple the funds in the program to $93M.
LAST UPDATED: 13 June 2013

Utah
film.utah.gov - Up to a 25% Tax Credit Rebate (post performance) or Cash Rebate.

Be sure also to read about filmmaker Laura Pratt's experience with being denied incentives by the state.

LAST UPDATED 12/2011 - Thanks to reader AC.

Vermont
Vermont Film Commission - sales and use tax exemption, hotel tax exemption

Virginia
Virginia Film Office - They offer a tax credit program that is capped at $2.5M, so get in quickly. Sales and use tax exemptions, lodging tax exemption.

Virgin Islands
filmusvi.com - I can find no information on incentives.

Washington
Film Office: Incentives - No state income tax, sales tax exemption on rentals and service, tax exemption for 30+ day lodging

West Virginia
Their film office says "up to 31% transferable tax credits" are available. 27% base, plus 4% for 10 or more resident crew or talent hires, $250,000 minimum with no cap. They have sales and lodging tax exemptions, fee free locations, plus a river location where the water flow can be controlled on demand (!) in certain months by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Wisconsin
Film Wisconsin - 25% tax credit, sales and use tax exemptions, 15% state income tax credit

Wyoming
Wyoming Film Office - rebates up to 15%

Canada Film Incentives and Tax Credits

And for those in the Great White North...

Alberta
Not sure if this counts, but they have a guaranteed government grant that can be used to raise money, also: no sales tax

British Columbia
BC Film Commission - 18% basic, 15% for visual effects or digital animation
film.bc.ca

Manitoba
Various incentives that can add up to 65%

New Brunswick
New Brunswick Film - up to 40% of salaries paid to New Brunswick residents, 10% rural bonus

Newfoundland and Labrador
nlfilm.net - Can't find any incentive info.

Northwest Territories
reelyukon.com - up to 25% of wages paid to residents

Nova Scotia
Film Nova Scotia - 50-65% tax credit, sales tax rebates

Nunavut
nunavutfilm.ca - all their info is in PDFs, and I despise PDFs more than I love knowing about Nunavut incentives

Ontario
Ontario Film Tax Credit - 35% on eligible Ontario labor, 40% on the first $240,000 for first-time producers
Film Ontario

Prince Edward Island
PEIfilm.net seems like they had information on tax credits at one time, but I could not find any. Perhaps they have been discontinued.

Québec
Quebec Film and Television Council - 25 % cash-back on all expenses plus a 20 % bonus on all visual effects shots applicable on extended eligible labor. No minimum spend, no caps.

Saskatchewan
SaskFilm.com - 45% base credit with 5% rural bonus and additional 5% bonus for hiring local talent in key positions.

Yukon
ReelYukon.com - rebate of up to 25% of spending, 25% on labor that is being trained and full rebate on travel expenses

NOTE: This project was "completed" Nov 20, 2010 but I continue to update it as I find or receive new information. If you have news or updates about filmmaking tax credits in your area, email me the info at makingthemovie AT-SIGN gmail DOT com. -JO

SEE ALSO: How to Avoid Pitfalls in State-Sponsored Film Incentives
The National Conference of State Legislatures put together their own list of US incentives in 2013. [Hat tip to reader CC.]
SAG's list of state film incentives
'Produced By' panel on tax incentives
Mark Litwak's list - a lot of the links were old, but they were close enough to help me in making my own.



About J. Ott

John Ott is a writer, filmmaker and technology geek. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Comments (10) Trackbacks (0)
  1. This needs to be updated. Alaska now has a 42% film production tax credit.

  2. Thanks for the tip! I’ve updated the list.

    Cheers,
    JO

  3. Does anyone have information on Iowa’s former program and who walked away with the money?

  4. J-
    Your comments regarding Louisiana’s program and being tied to fraud are sweeping and misrepresentative of what is going on down here…need to revise…along with comments regarding a few other states as well. Otherwise, a helpful link for those wanting to know more about film incentives/tax credits.

  5. Thanks, Squirrel. I would appreciate any links to articles that might help make this list more accurate.

  6. Illinois is as follows With No Sunset Clause:

    Tax Credit Benefits

    * 30% of the qualified Illinois Production Spending.
    * 30% credit on Illinois salaries up to $100,000 per worker.
    * Tax credit can be carried forward 5 years from when originally issued by IFO.
    * The yearly sunset provision has been removed so the IL Film Services Tax Credit does not expire.
    * Applicants will receive an additional 15% tax credit on salaries of individuals that live in an economically disadvantaged area.

  7. J-
    http://www.louisianaentertainment.gov- may be helpful for Louisiana Tax info

  8. North Carolina now has a 25% tax incentive for filmmakers.

  9. Saskatchewan has eliminated its tax credit, effective June 30. :(

  10. Does anyone know where to go to get an advanced loan on tax credits before actually shooting a production?


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