Great Places To Find Shoot Location tax Incentives For filming

February 29, 2016

The sequel has arrived with the continuing story about what states offer the biggest benefits to filmmakers in terms of Shoot Location tax Incentives .

In Part 1 “Filmmakers Need To Consider Shoot Location Tax Incentives”, we covered what these tax breaks are and how they affect major set and budgeting decisions during the filmmaking process. What we haven’t gone into detail with, though, is where the movie-making industry is likely to see the most advantageous credits. Once a list of states that suit the plot is developed, the conversation will probably move to these tax breaks.

The sequel has arrived with the continuing story about what states offer the biggest benefits to filmmakers in terms of Shoot Location tax Incentives .

At this point, filmmaking teams have to consider which state offers a combination of suitable sets and beneficial tax breaks. Myriad states offer some sort of film credits, though some packages are significantly better than others. Here are a few of the states to consider when choosing a set location:


Let’s get the obvious options out of the way first before we move on to that twist ending. One of the most obvious is the home of Hollywood and some of its biggest stars. Here are a few of the benefits filmmakers who shoot in California enjoy:

A 20 percent tax credit for feature films budgeted at at least $1 million, movies of the week or miniseries with a budget of at least $500,000 and new basic cable television series with a minimum budget of $1 million.
A 25 percent credit for both basic cable television series that previously filmed outside of the state and independent films with minimum budgets of $1 million. The latter must not be owned by a publicly traded company.
5 percent additional credits for original production expenditures outside of the 30-mile Los Angeles studio zone and for visual effects, musical scoring and track recording.
There is a $100 million annual cap for credits – $10 million is reserved for independent films chosen through a wage-based ranking system.

2.New York

While California has Hollywood, New York has similarly attractive options and the city that never sleeps. The film “How to Be Single” is an example of a recent movie shot in New York, though some publications lamented its portrayal of the city. People keep coming back for its famous landmarks and tax breaks such as:

A 30 percent refundable state tax credit with a 10 percent bonus for expenditures in certain upstate counties.
A 35 percent credit for post production expenditures under a stand-alone post program in some upstate counties.

The state splits qualification requirements, depending on whether films are Level 1 or Level 2. The former category requirements are:

A budget of less than $15 million, with less than 5 percent public ownership.
Shoot at least one day on a set built specifically for a production at a New York State Qualified Production Facility.
least 75 percent of all work-related expenses must be connected to work completed at the aforementioned QPF.

For Level 2 films the qualifications are:

Shoot on a set built specifically for the film at a QPF.
At least 75 percent of all work-related expenses must be connected to work completed at the aforementioned QPF.
At least 75 percent of shots outside the QPF must be within New York State or…
…The production should spend at least $3 million on work at the QPF.

The characters in #HowToBeSingle manage not to take the subway even once. https://t.co/P2TFNpd3kX

— L.A. Weekly (@LAWeekly) February 12, 2016

3.New Jersey

Despite a decision to let most film credits end, NJ.com explained that the Garden State still offers filmmakers some advantages to consider:

A sales tax exemption for goods purchased in the state for film productions.
Hundreds of business that cater to filmmakers, as well as 37 studios.
A long history of providing a backdrop to major films. 

The list goes on, though. Part 3 of our series of film tax credits will touch on more states with advantageous film credit packages, including some you may not have expected! Be sure to check back for more on state-by-state tax breaks for film productions.

If you have any questions about a given state’s shoot location tax incentives, speak with an entertainment law attorney for more information.

To read part one from the “Shoot location tax incentives” series, please follow the link below:

Filmmakers Need To Consider Shoot Location Tax Incentives 


Any comments or questions, please feel free to contact us with the form below.

Author: Anthony R. Caruso

The attorneys in Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Group are well-versed in the unique issues and challenges facing those in the entertainment, media, and sports industries. Our attorneys have significant collective experience in a plethora of entertainment, media, and sports matters, and have represented clients in transactions stemming from all types of contracts, negotiations, mediations, arbitrations, as well as other dispute resolution. They have expertise in areas including print media, literary, music, television, motion picture, broadcast and cable television, radio, advertisement/branding. Other areas of concentration include but are not limited to, fine art, and digital technologies.

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