254 Films Apply for California Tax Credits

Hollywood Sign - H 2014
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Hollywood Sign - H 2014

The California Film Commission is offering $55.2 million in the current round of its Film and Television Tax Credit Program.

Two hundred fifty four projects have applied for the $55.2 million in tax credits available in the California Film Commission's second round of the state’s recently expanded tax credit program, the Film Commission announced Tuesday.

The $55.2 million includes $48.3 million for non-independent feature films and $6.9 million for independent projects. The application period ran from July 13 to July 25, and during that time, the Film Commission received 32 applications for the non-independent feature category, and 222 applications for independent projects.

The decision on which projects receive tax credits will be based on each project’s jobs-ratio score, which provides a ranking according to wages paid to below-the-line workers, as well as qualified spending for vendor payments and equipment and other criteria. The top-ranked projects were notified July 27 that they have been selected to begin phase two of the process for further evaluation to ensure eligibility. The Film Commission will assign credits to the highest-ranking projects until the $48.3 million and $6.9 million funding buckets have been allocated. Projects that made it to phase two but were not assigned credits will be placed on a waiting list. The Film Commission expects to notify the tax credit recipients by mid-August.

The current application/allocation round follows the program’s launch, which began with the first application period of May 11-17 for non-independent TV projects. A total of 37 projects applied for the initial $82.2 million in funding, which included $55.2 million for new series, miniseries, MOWs and pilots, and $27.6 million reserved specifically for series relocating to California from out of state. Of the 37 projects that applied, eight new TV series and pilots were selected for tax credits, along with four relocating series.

The current inaugural year of California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program 2.0 will provide a total of $230 million in tax credits to eligible projects. An additional $100 million has been allocated to the final year of the state’s expiring, first-generation tax credit program.

Under the new program, tax credits are allocated in “buckets” for different categories of production, including TV projects (new series, miniseries, MOWs and pilots), relocating TV series, independent films and non-independent films. This enables applicants to compete for credits directly against comparable projects.

Consistent with the state’s prior tax credit program enacted in 2009, the new program awards tax credits only after selected projects: 1) complete postproduction, 2) verify the creation of in-state jobs (in accordance with their jobs-ratio score under the new program), and 3) provide all required documentation, including audited cost reports.

The schedule for additional application periods during the current fiscal year is as follows:

November 30-December 6 (non-independent TV projects)

January 11-24 (non-independent feature films and independent projects)

February 15-21 (non-independent TV projects)