California Film & Television Tax Credit Program
The California Film Commission is currently developing regulations and other procedures to administer the newly expanded tax credit program. Please check this website periodically for program updates. A detailed summary of the new Program is available here: AB 1839 Tax Credit Program Summary
How the Tax Credit Works
Qualified taxpayers are allowed a credit against income and/or sales and use taxes, based on qualified expenditures. Credits applied to income tax liability are not refundable. Only tax credits issued to an "independent film" may be transferred or sold to an unrelated party. Other qualified taxpayers may carryover tax credits for 5 years and transfer tax credits to an affiliate.
Note: Any project that begins principal photography prior to receiving a Credit Allocation Letter is NOT eligible for the program. Expenditures incurred prior to the date on the Credit Allocation Letter are not eligible for tax credits.
Key Changes from Prior Program
- Increases tax credit program funding to $330 million per fiscal year; extended for 5 years
- Expands eligibility to big-budget feature films, 1-hr TV series (for any distribution outlet) and TV pilots
- Eliminates budget caps for studio and independent films
- Replaces current lottery with a ranking system based on jobs and other criteria
**Applicants may apply for both programs**
"NEW" TAX CREDIT PROGRAM (Ranking System)
- MAY 2015 (TV ONLY) / SUMMER 2015 (FEATURE FILMS) -
(Projects selected by new ranking system; (Productions may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015)
Eligible for 20% Tax Credit (Plus 5% Uplift*):
- Feature Films: $1 million minimum budget; credit allocation applies only to the first $100 million in qualified expenditures
- Movies-of-the-Week and Miniseries: $500,000 minimum budget
- New Television Series for any distribution outlet: $1 million minimum budget per episode (at least 40 minutes per episode, scripted only)
- TV Pilots: $1 million minimum budget
Eligible for 25% Tax Credit:
- Independent Films: $1 million minimum budget; credits apply only to the first $10 million of qualified expenditures (only independent projects may sell their tax credits)
- Relocating Television Series, without regard to episode length, that filmed their prior season outside California; $1 million minimum budget
5% Credit Uplift (Maximum credit = 25%)
- Filming outside the Los Angeles zone + 5%
- Music scoring/music tracking recording expenditures + 5%
- Visual effects expenditures (minimum spend required) + 5%
New Ranking Selection Process
Productions will be ranked from highest to lowest based upon their "jobs ratio" and other criteria against "like" projects (TV ranked against TV, indie projects against indie, etc.). Tax credits will be awarded to those productions in each category with the highest ranking.
Separate Funding "Pots"
Funding is separated into "pots" by category:
- TV series and TV pilots
- Independent projects
- Non-indie feature films
- Relocating TV series
"OLD" TAX CREDIT PROGRAM (Lottery System)
- APRIL 2015 - FINAL LOTTERY (Date and procedures will be announced)
(Productions may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015)
Eligible for 20% Tax Credit:
- Feature Films: ($1 million - $75 million maximum production budget)
- Movies-of-the-Week or Miniseries: ($500,000 minimum budget)
- New Television Series: licensed for original distribution on basic cable ($1 million minimum budget; one-half hour shows and other exclusions apply)
Eligible for 25% Tax Credit:
- Independent Films: $1 million total production budget > $10 million qualified expenditure budget (only independent projects may sell their tax credits)
- Relocating Television Series: without regard to episode length, that filmed all of its prior seasons outside of California.
Applicants with projects on the waitlist will be informed via email when there is significant movement. However, applicants may email firstname.lastname@example.org with their project title and queue number (F-XXX) to request updated queue status information.
Please inform the CFC if your waitlist project is not going forward or has already started principal photography so that we may remove your project from the waitlist.