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California Film & Television Tax Credit Program 2.0

California’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program is about to get a lot more competitive as it more than triples in size (from $100 million to $330 million annually) and is expanded to include a range of project types that were previously ineligible.  Program 2.0 regulations, guidelines and other helpful documents are available now.  (See blue box on left side of this page for links.)

KEY CHANGES FROM PRIOR PROGRAM

  • Increases tax credit program funding from $100 million to $330 million; 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 lottery selection with a ranking system based on jobs and other criteria
  • Adds a 5% “Uplift” for productions that film outside the 30-Mile Zone, as well as for visual effects and music scoring/recording performed in-state.

APPLICATION DATES

May 11 -17, 2015 – On-line Application Window  
(For non-independent TV projects only)

  • $55.2 million in tax credits available for New TV series, TV pilots, MOWs, Mini-series for any distribution transmission
  • $27.6 million in credits available for Relocating TV Series**

Credit allocations will be issued on or after July 1, 2015; principal photography may not begin prior to receiving a credit allocation.

July 13 - 25, 2015 – On-line Application Window 
(For independent projects and non-independent feature films only)

  • $48.3 million in tax credits available for Feature Films
  • $6.9 million in credits available for Independent Projects*
Credit allocations will be issued after a 3 – 4 week review; principal photography may not begin prior to receiving a credit allocation.

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 (at least 40 minutes)

ELIGIBLE FOR 25% TAX CREDIT (maximum credit is 25%, uplifts do not apply)

  • Independent Projects: $1 million minimum budget; credits apply only to the first $10 million of qualified expenditures. (Only independent projects may sell their tax credits.)
  •  Relocating TV Series, any episode length, that filmed its most recent season outside California; $1 million minimum budget. (Additional seasons are eligible for 20%.)

5% CREDIT UPLIFT

  • Filming outside the Los Angeles 30-mile zone + 5%
  • Music Scoring and music track recording expenditures + 5%
  • Visual Effects expenditures (minimum spend required) + 5%
*Note: The above uplifts cannot be combined. The maximum credit a production can earn is 25%. 

NEW RANKING SELECTION PROCESS

In Phase I, productions will be ranked from highest to lowest based upon their "jobs ratio" and other criteria against "like" projects (TV projects ranked against other TV projects, indie projects against indie, etc.).  Tax credits will be awarded to those productions in each category with the highest ranking.  After ranking projects in each category, the top 200% of projects (meaning double the available allocation) will be notified. 

These productions will then have three business days to supply all required materials.  If any projects are determined to be ineligible during the application review, the next-ranked project will moved up and become eligible for a credit. 

FISCAL YEAR DEDICATED FUNDING 

  • TV Series and TV Pilots  (40%)
  • Independent projects  (5%)
  • Non-indie feature films  (35%)
  • Relocating TV series  (20%)