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Lights, Camera, Savings: Navigating Film & Television Industry Tax Breaks Across the States

When making a film or television show, the key to getting things to the finish line is ensuring everything stays within budget. That’s why producers have to do everything they can from the start to try and cut out extra expenses.

Filming in a state offering tax incentives is one of the best ways to save money when making a film because it saves you money from the beginning. It’s one of the few parts of the plan that you can build into the budget with surety.

This article will explore 3 of the most attractive states for filmmakers to explore to save money on taxes.

1.  Georgia: Leading the Way in Film & TV Tax Incentives

Georgia, known as the peach state, is one of the most beautiful and agriculturally rich states in the US. However, Georgia is looking for new ways to pump money into the economy. Film tax incentives in this state are some of the best filmmakers can find.

Georgia offers a transferable tax credit of 20% right off the bat. One can hire workers either in-state or out-of-state and still receive the credit that allows studios to use workers they know and trust while encouraging them to hire locals, considering that not as much money is required to sponsor travel.

The 20% tax credit applies not only to labor but also to the purchase and rental of equipment, which can be a big saver if a studio does not want to ship over bulky equipment from a place like Los Angeles.

Further, they offer the Georgia Entertainment Promotion (GEP) Uplift. This program states that if a production company places a “Made In Georgia” logo into the credits of their film, they’ll receive a whopping 10% increase in tax credits, totaling the savings to 30%. This method uplifts Georgia’s visibility as a film-friendly state for little to no cost to the producers.

Imagine spending 30% more of your budget on the creative side of the production. It’s no wonder why Marvel shot the final Avengers films in Georgia.

Here is the website to learn about forms and resources for shooting in Georgia.

Film and Television Production Tax Credits

Film and Television Production Tax Credits

2.  California: New Horizons on the Film Tax Incentive Front

California is the classic place to shoot film. Hollywood is practically more famous than the greater city of Los Angeles. However, the state encourages newer productions and more shooting outside the LA area.

Eligible projects that qualify for tax breaks are new television series, television pilots, non-independent feature films, independent features, and relocating television series. The program aims to aid newer productions in getting off the ground with some help by offering up to 25% breaks, which is substantial, to say the least, as long as 75% of the film is shot in California; a fair ask.

To further boost new production savings, California offers a 5% tax credit on anything shot outside the 30-mile LA radius, encouraging industry growth in up-and-coming areas that could use an economic boost.

Look out for continual incentivization in 2025 as California rolls out its newest Refundable Credit option under CA 4.0. There is lots to come for filmmakers in the Golden State. More information can be obtained on film tax breaks in California here.

3.  Illinois: The New Competitive Destination for Film & TV Production

Illinois’ new tax incentives make it an attractive location for filmmakers seeking a mix of urban and natural Americana-style landscapes.

Illinois, known as The Land of Lincoln, gives a 30% tax credit for production and labor expenditures, including post-production. This credit applies to workers making up to 500,000, so most of the hired labor, from in-state and out-of-state, gets paid in full while the producers save.

Further, productions can save an additional 15% on salaries by employing individuals from economically disadvantaged areas, bringing the total possible savings up to 45%.

Any unused tax credits can be used for another five years, which is helpful for long-term planning. Considering the state has already announced the plan for the renewal of these tax credits to be conducted in 2032, it looks like Illinois will be a tempting new place for filmmakers to actualize their grandiose vision on a budget.

Find more information on the Illinois Film Services Tax Credit here.

Wrapping Up Film Tax Incentives Across the US

Georgia, California, and Illinois are all fantastic states to choose from when looking to save on taxes for your upcoming film production.

You’ll find that these states can save you up to 45% in taxes, so it’s surely worth considering opening your mind to some non-conventional locations in order to shift some of your budget into more creative aspects of the filmmaking process.

It’s always good to check in with financial advisors or tax specialists before landing on a sure plan, but we hope we helped by giving you some of the resources and ideas you’ll need to save big on your next project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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