California Film & Television Tax Credit Program
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. The California Film Commission is currently developing regulations and other procedures to administer the newly expanded tax credit program.
APRIL 1, 2015 - FINAL LOTTERY for Independent Projects ONLY. (Productions may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015)
MAY 11-17, 2015 - New Program (TV applications ONLY) - (Projects selected by new ranking system; Productions may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015)
SUMMER 2015 - New Program (Applications for FEATURE FILMS) - (Projects selected by new ranking system; Productions may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015)
Notes: Applicants with independent projects may apply for both old and new programs. Productions selected for either program may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015.
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
A detailed summary of the new Program is available here.
Note: Expenditures incurred prior to the date on the Credit Allocation Letter are not eligible for tax credits.
"NEW" TAX CREDIT PROGRAM (Ranking System)
- MAY 11-17, 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
- Filming outside the Los Angeles zone + 5%
- Music scoring/music tracking 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
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 1, 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.