California Film and Television Tax Credit Program
Prepared by the City of Santa Clarita
As a result of many film and television productions leaving California, seeking incentives out of state, the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program was enacted in February 2009. This program was part of a targeted economic stimulus package to increase production spending, retain jobs, and maintain tax revenues in California. Currently, over 40 states and many countries offer meaningful incentives, in calculated efforts, to lure one of California’s signature industries to their areas.
The California Film and Television Tax Credit Program is designed to target productions most at risk of leaving the state. A total of $100 million annually is available for allocation beginning in fiscal year 2009/2010, and continuing through fiscal year 2013/2014. A minimum of $10 million of the annual funding is available for independent films each year. Last year, the Governor signed into law Assembly Bill 1069, Chapter 731, Statutes of 2011, which extended the incentive program one additional year until July 1, 2015.
What Types of Productions Qualify for the Program?
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 total production budget – $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.)
The credit is not available for commercial advertising, music videos, motion pictures for non-commercial use, news and public events programs, talk shows, game shows, reality programming, documentaries, and pornographic films.
Benefits for Santa Clarita
Santa Clarita has experienced first hand the benefits from the California Tax Credit Program. Since 2009,
157 projects have been approved for the program statewide, 18 of which are television series. 35 of these approved projects were filmed or are currently filming in Santa Clarita; 27 of which have filmed in the City boundaries. 22% of all approved projects filmed on location or based in Santa Clarita. Finally, 33% of the approved television shows have or are currently based in the City boundaries at local studios and sound stages.
Assembly Bill 2026
In February 2012, Assemblyman Fuentes introduced AB 2026. This bill seeks to extend the California Film Commission’s authority to allocate film tax credits for five additional years until July 1, 2020.
Santa Clarita’s Film Incentive Program
In 2009, the Santa Clarita City Council approved the City of Santa Clarita’s Film Incentive Program (FIP). The FIP is aimed at retaining and increasing feature and television production in the City of Santa Clarita by subsidizing permit fees, in addition to reducing costs of safety personnel.