Illinois and Wisconsin are among the 31 states listed below that have legislated generous incentives to entice the motion picture industry away from the Coasts and spend some of its annual $60 billion within their borders.
An asterisk highlights the 14 states with the added appeal of sales and use tax exemptions (helllo, City Hall!).
*CALIFORNIA: Free permits and no location fees for California state properties; 5% sales tax exemption on postproduction equipment; no state hotel tax on occupancy. (See www.afci.org for incentives by county.) www.film.ca.gov
COLORADO: 10% cash rebate to qualifying production companies spending at least 75% of below-the-line dollars with Colorado businesses and 75% of cast and crew are Colorado residents. www.coloradofilm.org
CONNECTICUT: 30% digital media and motion picture tax credit. Expenditures over $50,000 on a qualified production receive tax credits up to 30% of qualified Connecticut spending for goods, services and labor. No annual or per-production cap. www.ctfilm.com
GEORGIA: Base tax credit of 9% with uplifts based on Georgia job creation and expenditures in specified counties for multiple TV projects by a single producer. www.filmgeorgia.org
HAWAII: 20% tax credit on film, TV, spots and new media money spent in the Big Island. Tax credit applicable to a production company that establishes a long-term presence in Hawaii. Production income tax credit rebates on expenditures in Hawaii. www.hawaiifilmoffice.com.
ILLINOIS: 20% film tax credit on all local project-related expenditures, including labor, rentals, leases, purchases, services and housing. www.illinoisbiz.biz/dceo/bureaus/film
IOWA: Income tax credit based on 25% of qualified in-state expenditures; 100% income exclusion to Iowa-based companies or residents for monies earned from certified projects. www.filmiowa.com
LOUISIANA: 25% motion picture investor tax credit; 10% Louisiana employment tax credit; 15% sound recording tax credit; 15% digital media tax credit, 40% infrastructure tax credit.www.lafilm.org
MAINE: 10% reimbursement on wages for non-Maine residents, 12% for Maine residents. Income tax credit program for investment in certified media productions. www.afci.org.
MARYLAND: Distributed as a grant, rebates up to 25% of total direct costs incurred in the state while filming on location, based on minimum of $500,000 in total direct costs and minimum 50% of the filming in Maryland. www.marylandfilm.org.
*MASSACHUSETTS: Income and corporate excise tax credits equal to 25% of the total Massachusetts payroll, excluding salaries of $1 million-plus. Also: Production companies whose in-state production expenses exceed 50% of the total production cost receive an income and corporate excise tax credit of 25% of the total expense. Sales tax exemptions to companies expending over $50,000 in Massachusetts production costs during a consecutive 12-month period.
MICHIGAN: Cash incentives on a sliding scale, with a Michigan spending threshold of $200,000: 12% refund on $200,000-$1 million expenditures, 16% refund on $1-$5 million, 20% on $5-$10 million. www.Michigan.gov/filmoffice
*MINNESOTA: 15% rebate on in-state expenditures. Sales tax exemption on Minnesota expenditures for TV, commercials and post. State lodging tax exemption on stays 30 days or longer. www.mnfilmandtv.org
*MISSISSIPPI: 20-30% tax rebate depending on the amount of local spending, including local payroll; 10% rebate on non-residential payroll; 7% sales tax exemption on various production items; sales tax reduction of 5.5% on all film equipment. www.filmmississippi.org
*MONTANA: 14% rebate based on hired Montana labor applied to the first $50,000 worth of wages paid per Montana resident, and 9% based on production expenditures in Montana. Vehicle licensing exemptions. No sales tax and no room tax for stays longer than 30 days. www.montanafilm.com
*NEVADA: Many free services, including locations, scouting, locations photo base, intergovernmental liaison service, etc. Abatement of room tax after 30 days, affordable accommodations. No corporate or personal income, unitary, or inventory tax. www.nevadafilm.com
NEW JERSEY: 20% credit to producers spending 60% of their budgets in New Jersey, exclusive of post costs. The credit is saleable and transferable, and can be carried over to subsequent tax years. Also: A loan guarantee program administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority that guarantees 30% of a bank loan up to $1.5 million used to finance a movie or TV shows.
*NEW MEXICO: 25% tax rebate on all production expenditures, including New Mexico labor subject to taxation by the state. Refund has no minimum spend required and no cap. 50% wage reimbursement for on-the-job training of New Mexico residents in advanced below-the-line crew positions. No sales tax option primarily available for commercials and PSAs. Also: Film investment loan for up to $15 million per project, with participation in lieu of interest. www.nmfilm.com
*NEW YORK STATE: 10-15 percent fully refundable tax credit on qualified expenses while filming in New York State; commercial production tax credits; sales tax exemptions; and an investment tax credit of up to 5% tax for investments in construction and upgrades to qualified film production facilities. www.nylovesfilm.com.
*NORTH CAROLINA: Refundable tax credit up to 15% on in-state spending for goods, services and labor to production companies spending at least $250,000 in-state. Also: 1% sales and use tax on purchases of all production-related items. www.ncfilm.com
*OKLAHOMA: Cash rebate of up to 15% of documented film, TV, commercials expenditures, on budgets of $500,000, minimum of $300,000 in state expenditures. Rebate is capped at $5 million per year and is payable the fiscal year following the year when expenditures occur. A point-of-purchase exemption on sales taxes paid for property or services used in productions. www.oklahomafilm.org
*OREGON: 20% rebate on all goods and services paid to Oregon vendors; 16.2% rebate on all production payroll for work done in Oregon. No sales tax and fee-free state parks. www.oregonfilm.org
PENNSYLVANIA: Up to a 20% film production grant for production expenses generated in the commonwealth. To qualify: 60% of total production expenses must be incurred in Pennsylvania. www.filminpa.org
RHODE ISLAND: 25% tax credit to productions with a minimum of $300,000 on-the-ground spend; 51% of project must be filmed in the state. There is no cap and the tax credit is transferable.
*SOUTH CAROLINA: 20% wage rebates on wages of all employees subject to the state’s withholding tax and earning less than $1 million; 30% percent supplier rebates on all in-state expenditures and some out-of-state expenditures; 5-8.5% savings on sales and accommodations taxes; fee-free state properties. www.filmsc.com
TENNESSEE: 13% rebate on total qualified below-the-line production expenditures to in-state and non-state-based production companies.
Also: Additional 2% of qualified expenses available if minimum 25% of the cast and/or crew consist of Tennessee residents. Another 2% of qualified expenses, to a maximum additional rebate of $100,000, available if the production company spends at least $20,000 during post in acquisition costs for music created by Tennessee residents and/or for recording of music in Tennessee. www.film.Tennessee.gov
TEXAS: Grants available upon project completion equal to 5% of in-state spending, providing at least 80% of the shoot days are completed in Texas; at least 70% minimum number of paid crew, and 70% percent of the total paid cast and extras must be Texas residents. www.governor.state.tx.us/film/incentives/grants.htm
*UTAH: 15% percent rebate on Utah expenditures; sales and use tax exemption at point-of-sale on machinery and equipment. www.film.utah.gov
*WASHINGTON: Up to 20% rebate on in-state spending; state sales and use tax off rental equipment, services and all taxes off vehicles used in production. Vendor discount on below-the-line services with participating vendors for shows between $500,000 and $3 million. www.filmwashington.com
WISCONSIN: Refundable tax credit of 25% of direct production expenditures. Also: 15% state income tax credit for production businesses that make a capital investment by starting a business in Wisconsin, and an investment tax credit of 25%. www.filmwisconsin.net
WYOMING: Cash rebate up to 15% on dollars spent in-state. Qualified expenditures generally include wages, salaries or other compensation for technical and production crews, directors, producers, performers and extras who are Wyoming residents, and expenditures on goods and services in-state. www.filmwyoming.com
TAX RELIEF: Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Vermont and West Virginia don’t charge sales tax on equipment purchases, rentals and lodgings, but that’s their only incentive.
NOTE: For large states with several offices, see www.afci.org.