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California, the home state of Hollywood, land of the rich and famous and the movie making capital of the world, does not get it. New York, on the other hand, has always been a welcome home to filmmakers and film, television and commercial production.
Now New York State will increase its 10% below-the-line tax credit for film and television production to a whopping 30%, upping the program to $575 million, speeding the rebate waiting period from two years to one and extending the deal to 2013, with an ultimate $110 million cap. Now that’s an incentive package. In actuality, the Republicans in the Senate wanted a bigger incentive package but the Democrats bargained the incentives down to this still sterling package. Is it as good as Michigan’s production incentives? No. But this is New York. You have Niagra Falls and New York City and all the places in between. New York doesn’t have to be the cheapest state to film in or have the best incentives, it just needs to be competitive and this package is a good one.
Already business is picking up for New York. There’s talk that the show Ugly Betty may move to New York to take advantage of the incentives. Even films that aren’t set in New York are relocating there to take advantage of all New York has to offer. And what does New York offer besides great locations? How about an experienced and diverse crew and talent pool to draw from. Now that’s exciting.
So how does one qualify for the New York refundable film production tax credit? Qualified production costs at a qualified film production facility must be greater than or equal to 75% of the costs within and outside New York. Productions are required to spend at least one day at a qualified facility on a set. If production costs at a qualified facility are less than $3,000,000, then shooting days in New York outside qualified production facility must be greater than or equal to 75% of shooting days within and outside New York.
There is an investment tax credit that is available for tangible property containing at least one sound stage greater than or equal to 7,000 square feet, which is principally used as a qualified film production facility and the taxpayer provides at least 3 qualified services, including but not limited to: studio lighting grid, lighting and grip equipment, multi-line phone service, broadband information technology access, industrial scale electrical capacity, food services, security services, and heating, ventilation and A/C.
In addition, sales tax is exempt for film productions for most film related expenditures. And New York City doesn’t charge for film permits or use of New York City police. Bravo!
New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & TV Development
633 Third Avenue, 33rd Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 803-2330
Pat Swinney Kaufman
Deputy Commissioner & Executive Director