Commercial Tax Credit Program

As New York State reopens, industry-specific guidance for Media Production has been released as part of Phase Four of the New York Forward regional phased reopening plan.

This industry specific guidance includes: Summary Guidance, Detailed Guidance with an affirmation link, and a Business Safety Plan Template. Please refer to the links below for detailed information and guidelines on when Phase Four will begin and on operating legally and safely in your region.

New York Forward: Business Reopening

New York State is providing detailed information on region and industry-specific reopening plans.

Business Reopening Lookup Tool

The NY Forward Business Reopening Lookup tool will help determine whether your business is able to reopen and the public health and safety standards with which your business must comply.

Commercial Tax Credit

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The New York State Commercial Tax Credit Program is designed to increase the production of commercial filming in New York State (“NYS”).

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Credits of up to $7 million per year can be allocated to encourage qualified production companies to produce commercials in NYS and help create and maintain jobs. The $7 million per year consists of two components for companies: producing commercials Downstate ($ 4 million) and producing Upstate ($3 million).

An applicant can receive a credit of 30% on qualified production expenses under the Upstate component and 20% under the Downstate component of the Commercial Tax Credit Program. 

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The Program is limited to advertisements recorded on film, audiotape, videotape or digital medium in NYS for multi-market distribution by way of radio, television, motion picture theaters or the internet. Certain productions are excluded, including but not limited to: news or current affairs programs, interview or talk programs, network promos, "how-to" (instructional) productions, stock footage, trailers promoting theatrical films, sporting events, game shows, award ceremonies, daytime dramas, reality programs, and music videos.

Qualified production costs are for tangible property or services used or performed within NYS directly and predominantly in the production (including pre- and post-production) of a qualified commercial. Qualified costs generally include most below-the-line items including costs of technical and crew production, expenditures for facilities, props, makeup, wardrobe, set construction, and background talent. Generally excluded are costs of stories and scripts, and wages for writers, directors, producers and performers (other than background extras).

Most post-production costs such as editing, sound editing, special effects, graphics, color timing, etc., are qualified, provided the applicant company controls the post-production and pays post-production vendors directly. Such costs shall not include the editing of previously produced content for a qualified commercial.  

Credit for Downstate ($4 million)
The Downstate component is based on filming or recording qualified commercials within the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD). The MCTD includes New York City, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties.

  • More than $500,000 in total qualified costs attributable to the production of qualified commercials within the MCTD during the calendar year must be incurred
  • The amount of the credit is initially calculated as 20% of qualified production costs over the $500,000 threshold
  • Credits are distributed on a pro rata basis among applicants for the downstate credit

Credit for Upstate ($3 million)
The Upstate component is based on filming or recording of qualified commercials outside the MCTD but within NYS.

  • More than $100,000 in total qualified costs attributable to the production of qualified commercials outside the MCTD during the calendar year must be incurred
  • The amount of the credit is initially calculated as 30% of all qualified production costs. Credits are distributed on a pro rata basis among applicants for the Upstate credit

How to Apply

Application Process

Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. April 15, 2020.

All applications received for each of the two components will be reviewed. Once the total amount of credits earned for each component of the Program has been determined, the pro rata value for each applicant will be calculated and a certificate of tax credit issued.

The certificate must be attached to a company's 2019 NYS tax return to be applied against its NYS tax liability. If the amount of the credit exceeds the tax liability for that year, 50% of the excess will be refunded to the applicant. In the subsequent tax year, the applicant will file for the remaining credit. If there is any amount of credit remaining in excess of the applicant' s tax liability for that year, it will be refunded. 

Application Materials
Save each file to your own computer first, then open and complete the saved files.

Contact Information
If you are interested in more details or have specific questions about the program, please contact the Film Tax Credit Program at (212) 803-2328 or via email at [email protected].

Additional Resouces
Visit the NYS Television & Film industry page

The link below contains the current regulations for the Empire State Commercial Tax Credit Program:

Commercial Tax Credit Program Regulations