Senate bill allows 30% actors tax incentives

Billy Zane and Sen. Patricia Van Pelt at hearing

The first new amendment to the Illinois Film Tax Credit since it was enacted in 2008 could give the state a competitive boost with other film states, especially as a destination for feature films with mid-range $10-$20 million budgets.

On Wednesday, the state Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 1816 that provides actors would be included as an “Illinois labor expenditure.”  Actors’ salaries would be capped at $1 million. If the actor is not an Illinois resident, the first $100,000 of his wages is excluded from the tax credit.

The tax credit on actors’ wages apply only to accredited productions.  The bill also provides that corporation productions would now be eligible for the tax credit for the first time.

Currently, the tax credit only applies to features, scripted TV shows, commercials and music videos. It does not apply to TV talk shows, award shows, sports events or any finished film that solicits funds.

SB 186 was introduced into the Senate last February by Senators Patricia Van Pelt, Jacqueline Collins and John Cullerton (all D-Chicago).

A week earlier, a Chicago labor contingent testified in Springfield on behalf of the amendments: Local 476 business manager Mark Hogan; Cinespace president Alex Pissios; IFO director Betsy Steinberg; IPA president Jeff Crabtree; Teamsters and Local 476 lobbyist Frank Cortese; Local 476 makeup/hair stylist Carla Abruzzo; actor Billy Zane, and producer Bob Teitel of State Street Pictures.

The bill goes to the House for final approval probably in the fall session; the Illinois legislature adjourns May 31 for the summer. 

“The current legislation is a work in progress and we look forward to advocating its final passage in Springfield,” said Jeff Crabtree, IPA president.