New York State Film Tax Credit Program (Production)

New York State Film Tax Credit Program (Production)

Objective

The Film Production Tax Credit program is designed to strengthen the film production industry in New York State and its positive impact on the State’s economy.

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Overview

Overview

Program Highlights

Program credits of $420 million per year can be allocated and used to encourage companies to produce film projects in New York and help create and maintain film industry jobs.

Production companies may be eligible to receive a fully refundable credit of 30 percent of qualified production costs and post-production costs incurred in New York State (NYS).

For the period 2015-2022, productions with budgets over $500,000 can receive an additional 10 percent credit on qualified labor expenses incurred in the following counties:

Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wyoming, or Yates.

There is a maximum of $5 million per year that can be allocated for the additional 10 percent credit on qualified labor expenses.

Additional Credit Map

Eligibility

Eligibility 

  • The Program is limited to feature films, television series, relocated television series, television pilots, and films for television.
  • "Qualified  film" shall not  include (i) a documentary film, news or current affairs program, interview or  talk  program,  "how-to"  (i.e., instructional)  film  or program, film or program consisting primarily of stock footage, sporting event  or  sporting  program, game show, award ceremony, film or program intended primarily for industrial, corporate or institutional end-users, fundraising film or program, daytime drama (i.e., daytime "soap opera"), commercials, music videos or "reality" program, or (ii) a production for which records are required under section 2257 of title 18, United States code, to be maintained with respect to any performer in such  production (reporting  of  books, films, etc. with  respect to sexually explicit conduct).
  • The production credit is available for companies that film a substantial portion of their project in NYS.

Film Production Credit

Qualified production costs are for tangible property or services used or performed within New York State directly and predominantly in the production of a qualified film. Qualified costs generally include most below-the-line items associated with production such as set construction, crew, camera equipment, grip equipment, props, etc. Post-production costs such as film editing, sound design and effects, and visual effects may be qualified costs for purposes of the film production credit.

Eligibility requirements vary based on the type of film production company and the budget.

If the film has a production budget over $15 million or is being produced by a company in which more than five percent of the beneficial ownership is owned directly or indirectly by a publicly traded entity:

  • At least 10% of the total principal photography shooting days must be at a qualified production facility (QPF) in New York State
     

Pilots are exempted from the 10 percent principal photography day requirement. Pilots must shoot a minimum of one day of principal photography day at a QPF, and at least 75 percent of the total of all expenses related to work (excluding post-production) done at all facilities utilized by the Pilot must be related to work done at the QPF.

Productions with budgets of $15 million or less produced by companies that are independently owned must shoot at least one day of principal photography at a QPF.

If a non-qualified production facility (in NYS or out of State) is used by the Production Company, at least 75 percent of the total of all expenses related to work (excluding post-production) done at all facilities anywhere must be related to work done at the QPF.

If a production has met the 75 percent test for qualified production facility expenditures, it may also qualify for credit based upon qualified expenditures outside the qualified facility that are related to pre-production, location production and post-production if:

  1. The production spends less than $3 million on all costs related to work done at a qualified production facility, then a minimum of 75 percent of the principal photography days shot on location must be in New York State. This threshold requirement applies to location days only. Principal shoot days at a facility must not be included in the calculation of the 75 percent; OR
  2. The production spends $3 million or more on all expenses related to work done at a qualified production facility, then there is no 75 percent threshold for principal photography on location in NYS. All qualified expenditures related to pre-production, location production and post-production in NYS are eligible for calculating the credit.

Further definition of certain terms such as film production facility, qualified production facility and armories are provided in the Program Guidelines and Appendix A.

NOTE: A film production company filming a substantial portion of its project in NYS can include post-production costs incurred in NYS in the calculation for the film production credit. The post-production credit is available to film production companies that film a substantial portion of a project outside NYS but are seeking to contract some or all of the post-production work to a facility in NYS. A Film production company cannot claim the film production credit and the post-production credit for the same qualified post production costs.

 

How to Apply

Application Process

Applicants complete and submit the Project Summary Form online. All other documents which comprise a complete application (see Chart of Application Materials for the Film Tax Credit) are submitted through the secure file transfer system. See Application Instructions document.  It is highly recommended that applications be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the start of principal photography.

When submitting an application for Film Production Credit, all materials as indicated in the chart below must be submitted in order for the application to be deemed complete. Refer to the Chart of Application Materials for the Tax Credit when completing an initial and final application.

Online Application Form

Chart of Application Materials for the Film Tax Credit

Application Instructions

For the Film Production Credit, applications must be submitted prior to the start of principal and ongoing photography.

When an initial application is deemed complete, the Program Office will notify an applicant that the project is eligible to submit a final application.

When the applicant completes the project through post-production, a final application must be submitted with actual project information. When the final application is deemed complete, the Program Office will notify an applicant that the application is ready for audit. After the audit, a Certificate of Tax Credit may be issued and sent to the applicant listed in the final application.

Program Guidelines
Appendix A

Third Party CPA Review of Final Application

Film producers applying for the film production can opt to have final applications reviewed by pre-qualified CPA firms and expedite approval

The overwhelming success of the New York State Film Production Tax Credit has brought record breaking numbers of film and television productions and tax credit applications into the State. To help address the influx of final applications, Empire State Development (ESD) is offering an optional, voluntary program for third party review of final applications. This voluntary initiative is effective January 1, 2015 for the Film Production Tax Credit Program. This procedure enables productions that choose to participate to have their final applications reviewed by pre-qualified CPA firms according to agreed-upon procedures (AUPs) established and published by ESD. The reviews and reports prepared by the pre-qualified CPA firms must be submitted as a supplement to a production's final application.

ESD staff will review the final application for completeness and the CPA report for compliance with the agreed-upon procedures. This process will expedite the final approval by ESD and is expected to free up staff to work on productions that do not opt in, and will go a long way towards reducing the time it takes for all productions to receive their credits.

  1. Pre-Qualified CPA firms
  2. Procedures and Performance Standards
  3. Agreed Upon Procedures - Film Production Program
  4. Qualified Cost Summary - Film Production Program
  5. Third Party Checklist - Film Production Program

Film Production Credit
Complete initial and final application forms which are either online or downloadable are indicated below:
 

Project Summary - Film Production Credit - Initial Application (Online Application Form)

  • Film - Initial Application Template Book - The Film Production Credit Initial Application Template file contains the following templates for submission via the online application:
    • Budget Cost Qualifier Summary Page
    • Budget Cost Qualifier Detail Page
    • Schedule of Qualified Expenditures
    • Supplement to the Schedule of Qualified Expenditures 

Project Summary - Film Production Credit - Final Application (Online Application Form)

  • End Credit Requirements
  • Film - Final Application Template Book - The Film Production Credit Final Application Template file contains the following templates for submission via the online application:
    • Budget Cost Qualifier Summary Page
    • Budget Cost Qualifier Detail Page
    • Employment Report
    • Shoot Days Summary
    • Retained Assets Report
    • Related Party Transaction Report
    • Schedule of Qualified Expenditures
    • Supplement to the Schedule of Qualified Expenditures

Regulations

The link below contains the current regulations for the Empire State Film Production Tax Credit Program.  The regulations were last updated on September 02, 2015.
Film Regulations

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 filmcredits@esd.ny.gov.