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The State of California currently has a Film and Television Tax Credit Program to ease the costs of your production. The California Film Commission (CFC) is administering the tax credit program and has provided detailed guidelines and other helpful information.
The Permanent Regulations and Agreed Upon Procedures were approved by the Office of Administrative Law on May 19, 2010. The newly adopted Regulations, program forms, Agreed Upon Procedures, as well as updated program information are now available. For a summary of the more significant changes to the Regulations, click here.
Applications for the next fiscal year's credits were accepted beginning on June 1, 2010 and the program is now fully subscribed. Any projects wishing to apply now will be put on the waiting list, pending any credits that may become available. For application instructions, please click here. Applicants that wish to apply for the waiting list may want to call the CFC to determine the length of the list and the potential for available credits.
Prior to submitting an application, all applicants should review the guidelines, regulations and all required documents and forms to become familiar with the procedures. All applicants should consult with their legal and financial advisors regarding utilization of the tax credits.
The following is a brief description of the program parameters:
How the Tax Credit Works
Qualified taxpayers are allowed a credit against income and/or sales and use taxes, based on qualified expenditures, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2011. 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.
What Types of Productions Qualify for the Program?
To apply for the California Film and Television Incentive Program, a "qualified motion picture" must be one of the following:
(Eligible for 20% Tax Credit):
Feature Films ($1 million minimum - $75 million maximum production budget)
Movies of the Week or Miniseries ($500,000 minimum production 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):
A television series, without regard to episode length, that filmed all of its prior seasons outside of California.
An "independent film" ($1 million - $10 million qualified expenditure budget that is produced by a company that is not publicly traded and that publicly traded companies do not own more that 25% of the producing company.)
A "qualified motion picture" must also meet the following conditions:
75% test (production days or total production budget) in California. Application must be submitted at least 30 days prior to commencement of principal photography. Once an application is approved, principal photography must begin within 180 days.
How much was allocated to the program?
$100 million annually beginning fiscal year 2009/2010 through fiscal year 2013/2014. A minimum of $10 million of the annual funding is available for independent films each year.
Applications may be sent to the CFC offices via hand delivery, FedEx, UPS or other private mail service, U.S. Postal Service, or via messenger. Applications may not be faxed or sent electronically via e-mail.
California Film Commission
7080 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 900 Hollywood, CA 90028
Attn: California Film & Television Tax Credit Program
Phone: 323-860-2960 X110