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California Film & Television Tax Credit Program 2.0

California’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program is about to get a lot more competitive as it more than triples in size (from $100 million to $330 million annually) and is expanded to include a range of project types that were previously ineligible.  Program 2.0 regulations, guidelines and other helpful documents are available now.  (See blue box on left side of this page for links.)

KEY CHANGES FROM PRIOR PROGRAM

  • Increases tax credit program funding from $100 million to $330 million; extended for 5 years
  • Expands eligibility to big-budget feature films, 1-hr TV series (for any distribution outlet) and TV pilots
  • Eliminates budget caps for studio and independent films 
  • Replaces lottery selection with a ranking system based on jobs and other criteria
  • Adds a 5% “Uplift” for productions that film outside the 30-Mile Zone, as well as for visual effects and music scoring/recording performed in-state.

APPLICATION DATES

July 13 - 25, 2015 Application Window: Independent Projects and Non-Independent Feature Films Only
   Projects that rank in the top 200% will be notified on July 26, 2015 to submit Phase II documents.

November 30 - December 6, 2015 Application Window: TV Series, Mini-series, MOWs, Pilots and Relocating TV series
   Projects that rank in the top 200% will be notified on December 7, 2015 to submit Phase II documents.

January 11 - 24, 2016 Application Window: Independent Projects and Non-Independent Feature Films Only
   Projects that rank in the top 200% will be notified on January 25, 2016 to submit Phase II documents.

February 15 - 21, 2016 Application Window: TV Series, Mini-series, MOWs, Pilots and Relocating TV series
   Projects that rank in the top 200% will be notified on February 22, 2016 to submit Phase II documents.


Credit allocations will be issued after a 3 – 4 week review; principal photography may not begin prior to receiving a credit allocation.


ELIGIBLE FOR 20% TAX CREDIT (plus 5% Uplift*)

  • Feature Films: $1 million minimum budget; credit allocation applies only to the first $100 million in qualified expenditures.
  • Movies-of-the-Week and Miniseries: $500,000 minimum budget
  • New television Series for any distribution outlet; $1 million minimum budget per episode (at least 40 minutes per episode, scripted only)
  • TV Pilots: $1 million minimum budget (at least 40 minutes)

ELIGIBLE FOR 25% TAX CREDIT (maximum credit is 25%, uplifts do not apply)

  • Independent Projects: $1 million minimum budget; credits apply only to the first $10 million of qualified expenditures. (Only independent projects may sell their tax credits.)
  •  Relocating TV Series, any episode length, that filmed its most recent season outside California; $1 million minimum budget. (Additional seasons are eligible for 20%.)

5% CREDIT UPLIFT

  • Filming outside the Los Angeles 30-mile zone + 5%
  • Music Scoring and music track recording expenditures + 5%
  • Visual Effects expenditures (minimum spend required) + 5%
*Note: The above uplifts cannot be combined. The maximum credit a production can earn is 25%. 

NEW RANKING SELECTION PROCESS

In Phase I, productions will be ranked from highest to lowest based upon their "jobs ratio" and other criteria against "like" projects (TV projects ranked against other TV projects, indie projects against indie, etc.).  Tax credits will be awarded to those productions in each category with the highest ranking.  After ranking projects in each category, the top 200% of projects (meaning double the available allocation) will be notified. 

These productions will then have three business days to supply all required materials.  If any projects are determined to be ineligible during the application review, the next-ranked project will moved up and become eligible for a credit. 

FISCAL YEAR DEDICATED FUNDING 

  • TV Series and TV Pilots  (40%)
  • Independent projects  (5%)
  • Non-indie feature films  (35%)
  • Relocating TV series  (20%)