Incentives Watch: Film Tax Credit Garners Rave Reviews, Blockbuster Returns in Georgia

In this interview, Lee Thomas, Division Director of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, discusses the impact of Georgia’s film tax credit on the state’s economy.

As one of the top-ranked states in terms of film and television productions, Georgia’s tax credit appears to be adding to the state’s coffers.  In fact, these productions generated $3.1 billion in revenue during the 2012 fiscal year, according to Thomas.

“[F]iscal year 2012 saw record investment in the state by the entertainment industry, with more than $879.8 million in direct spending,” says Thomas.

Bloomberg BNA:  What type of film and television tax credit is offered in Georgia?
  Georgia offers a 20 percent across-the-board, transferable flat tax credit with a minimum of $500,000 spent on qualified production and postproduction expenditures within Georgia.  Any production that meets the minimum requirements is eligible to take advantage of the tax incentive. 
In addition, an additional 10 percent tax credit is available if a production company includes an imbedded Georgia promotional logo in the qualified feature film, TV series, music video or video game project.

Bloomberg BNA:  What is the impact of Georgia’s film and television tax credit?
Georgia-lensed productions generated an economic impact of $3.1 billion in the state during the 2012 fiscal year, which is a 29 percent increase from fiscal year 2011.  In addition, fiscal year 2012 saw record investment in the state by the entertainment industry, with more than $879.8 million in direct spending.

Bloomberg BNA:  Why are some states enacting new film tax credits while others are doing away with them?
We can only speak for Georgia. I can tell you that production companies are picking Georgia based on the entire package – incentives, accessibility, crew base, infrastructure and quality of life.  The 2008 Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act helped the state’s entertainment industry achieve record numbers.  Georgia is now among the top five states in the nation for film and TV production with more than 333 productions shot in Georgia during fiscal year 2012.

Bloomberg BNA:  Do you have any other comments about Georgia’s film tax credit or film tax credits in general?
  In addition to the direct spend of film and television projects, Georgia has experienced a tremendous growth in infrastructure and support services since the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act was enacted in May 2008.  It is important to note the companies that expanded or relocated to Georgia are not eligible for the film tax credit – they are here due to the unprecedented level of business.

Continue the Discussion on BBNA’s State Tax Group on LinkedIn:   Are film tax credits a good investment for every state?

For more information about film tax credits, check out Bloomberg BNA’s Credits and Incentives Portfolios.

In other developments . . .

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance released a technical memorandum to explain the tax benefits available to businesses eligible to participate in the state's new tax-free zone program, according to a Bloomberg BNA Weekly State Tax Reportarticle.

By: Kathleen Caggiano

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