California Film & Television Tax Credit Program

The California Film Commission (CFC) is administering the tax credit program and has provided detailed guidelines and other helpful information available through this website.

The program is now fully subscribed through the current fiscal year (July 2009 - June 2010). The CFC is maintaining a waiting list for projects that wish to apply, pending any credits that may become available prior to June 20th. 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.

Applications for the next fiscal year's credits (July 2010 - June 2011) will be accepted beginning on June 1, 2010. Any projects on the waiting list will need to reapply to be eligible for the new fiscal year's allocation

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 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

The California Film Commission is delighted to offer this incentive program along with all of our existing services.