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California’s Expanded Film & TV Tax Credit Program Begins Year-Two by Gaining Additional Relocating TV Series and Six New Series Picked-Up from Pilots
- Monday, Jun. 13, 2016
With year-two of California’s expanded Film & Television Tax Credit Program 2.0 set to begin July 1, the California Film Commission today announced the first round of projects for the new fiscal year.
The 11 TV projects approved conditionally for tax credits include the relocating series “American Crime,” which is moving its third season of production to Los Angeles from Austin, Texas. According to ABC Studios, the latest season will be set in North Carolina. The critically-acclaimed anthology crime drama is not to be confused with FX series “American Crime Story: People v. O.J. Simpson,” which was accepted into the state’s first-generation tax credit program last year. With the addition of “American Crime,” California has gained a total of six relocating TV series under the expanded tax credit program.*
“Year-two of our expanded program is off to a very encouraging start as we welcome a sixth relocating TV series,” said California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch. “It’s also great to host another long-term project like ‘American Crime’ that is set elsewhere.”
Other conditionally approved projects (see full list below) in the current $65 million allocation round include six 1st season TV series (all picked up from pilots accepted previously into the program), and four recurring TV series already in the program and renewed for another season of in-state production.
These projects were selected by the Film Commission based on the TV-specific application period held May 18-27. Due to the tax credit program’s success in attracting long-term TV projects, this latest application round was restricted to newly relocating TV series, recurring TV series and 1st season TV series picked up from pilots that had secured tax credits.
Along with the 11 projects selected in this latest allocation, there are currently 12 additional TV projects (in varying stages of production) participating in the state’s tax credit program 2.0. If picked up for additional episodes, these recurring TV series will reapply for new tax credits during a future application period.
Based on data provided with each application, the 11 approved TV projects announced today will generate an estimated $464 million in direct in-state spending, including $171 million in wages to below-the-line crew members.
The California Film Commission anticipates such in-state spending and wages will grow substantially for year-two of the expanded tax credit program, as the program’s full $330 million in annual funding becomes available (funding for the first fiscal year was $230 million, with an additional $100 million allocated to the final year of the state’s expiring first-generation tax credit program).
Lemisch added, “With the program fully-funded for year-two, we will be able to attract and retain even more projects, which translates into more in-state spending and high-wage jobs that would otherwise go elsewhere.”
The next application period for year-two (fiscal 2016-17) of California’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program 2.0 will be held June 27 – July 8 for independent and non-independent feature films.
How the Tax Credit Program Works
Projects approved for California tax credits are selected based on their jobs ratio score, which ranks each project by wages to below-the-line workers, qualified spending for vendors, equipment, etc., and other criteria. The top 200% ranked projects in each round (i.e., those that would qualify if double the amount of funding was available for the current allocation round) are evaluated, and those with the highest-ranked jobs ratios receive tax credits. Those not selected are placed on the waiting list.
The expanded tax credit program allocates funding in “buckets” for different production categories, including non-independent feature films, independent films, TV projects and relocating TV series. This enables applicants to compete for credits directly against comparable projects.
As has been the case since the state launched its first-generation tax credit program in 2009, the California Film Commission awards tax credits only after each selected project: 1) completes post-production, 2) verifies that in-state jobs were created, and 3) provides all required documentation, including audited cost reports.
More information about California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program 2.0, including application procedures, eligibility and guidelines, is available at http://film.ca.gov/incentives.
About California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program 2.0
On September 18, 2014, Governor Brown signed bipartisan legislation to more than triple the size of California’s film and television production incentive, from $100 million to $330 million annually. Aimed at retaining and attracting production jobs and economic activity across the state, the California Film and TV Tax Credit Program 2.0 also extends eligibility to include a range of project types (big-budget feature films, TV pilots and 1-hr TV series for any distribution outlet) that were excluded from the state’s first-generation tax credit program. Other key changes include replacing the prior lottery system with a “jobs ratio” ranking system that selects projects based on wages paid to below-the-line workers, qualified spending (for vendors, equipment, etc.) and other criteria. Program 2.0 also offers an additional five percent tax credit for non-independent projects that shoot outside the Los Angeles 30-mile zone or have qualified expenditures for visual effects or music scoring/track recording.
About the California Film Commission
The California Film Commission enhances California's status as the leader in motion picture, television and commercial production. It supports productions of all sizes and budgets, and focuses on activities that stimulate and preserve production jobs, spending and tax revenues in California. Services include administration of the state's Film & Television Tax Credit Program, permits for filming at state-owned facilities, an extensive digital location library, location assistance and a range of other production-related resources and assistance. More information is available at http://www.film.ca.gov.
*The other five TV series that have relocated to California over the past year due to the state’s expanded tax credit program include: American Horror Story and Scream Queens from Louisiana, Mistresses from Vancouver, Secrets & Lies from North Carolina, and Veep from Maryland.