INCENTIVES WATCH: STATE TAX CREDITS CAUSING NIGHTMARES FOR FILM INDUSTRY

movie_studio (002)I am not a fan of horror movies. Don’t get me wrong, there are some horror movies that are good--classics even. I guess I’m just not a fan of being scared. Luckily for me, I am not a member of the Florida film industry. 

Illustrating the fears of the Florida film industry are a number of films depicting the Sunshine State, but filmed elsewhere. “The Unknowns; Talent is Colorblind,” is one such film being shot in Georgia, according to a Nov. 25 article from the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Adding fuel to the fire, the article points out that the film’s producer has confirmed that the production will be the beneficiary of Georgia film tax credits.

The Florida film credit is already bringing in less-than-stellar reviews from some in the industry, because they feel it doesn’t properly incentivize productions to locate in the state, according to a Nov. 24 article from The Tampa Tribune. Allowing the credit to sunset July 1, 2016, will only make Florida even less attractive for filmmakers, according to the article. Therefore, several organizations have made a number of alternative proposals, such as creating a rebate or loan program, in lieu of extending the existing credit, the article states.

Even so, extending the Florida film tax credit might be easier said than done. As is the case with a majority of tax incentives, not everyone involved believes that they are creating worthwhile benefits. In addition to Governor Rick Scott’s hope to create major tax cuts, a number of state lawmakers are questioning how effective these incentives are, according to a Nov. 30 article in the Orlando Sentinel.

Florida doesn’t have a monopoly on the film tax franchise however. Recently, Illinois announced that its film tax credit will be returning to life. Although initial reports stated that the credit wouldn't be available until a budget was passed, that stance has since shifted and the film tax credit is currently available, according to a Nov. 12 article in Deadline.

Pennsylvania’s film tax credit is also making the news. Much like Illinois, budget issues are preventing the state from funding their film tax credit, according to a Nov. 23 article from the Philly Voice. Many in the film industry see this as the reason for the decline in productions being filmed in Philadelphia, the article further states. 

Like any good horror movie, the debate over film tax credits in these states have been building with suspense. Only time will tell if any of these credits make it out unscathed. 

Correction:

An earlier version of this blog post stated that the credit will not be available until Illinois finalizes its budget. The blog post was revised to state that the credit is currently available.

*Continue the discussion on Bloomberg BNA's State Tax Group on LinkedIn: Should states direct more funding to film tax credits?

For more information about film tax credits, check out Bloomberg BNA’s Credits and Incentives Portfolios by signing up for a free trial of the Bloomberg BNA Premier State Tax Library today.

By:  Jason Plotkin

Follow Jason on Twitter at:  @jplotkinSALT

Follow BBNA on Twitter at: @BBNATax.