Essential Guide to Filming Incentives in the United States & Canada

The United States and Canada have been vying against each other for film production bragging rights since the 1990s. Once Canada became a hot bed for productions with its film incentive program in 1997, many U.S. states followed suit and began launching their own production incentives. Luckily for every filmmaker the U.S. and Canada both offer many attractive filming incentives that could mean filming on every type of budget.

Filming Incentives in the United States

Each state has specific requirements that need to be met to qualify for the incentive programs and many also have an annual cap on the amount of funds to be awarded under their incentive program. You can find more in-depth information about each state’s incentive program more by clicking on the links provided.

Alaska

30% base transferable tax credit, plus an extra 20% for using Alaska cast and crew, another 6% for shooting in rural areas, and 2% for shooting off season, and 6% for the first scripted series
www.film.alaska.gov

Georgia

20% transferable base investment tax credit, plus a 10% uplift for including required Georgia promotional logo/end title credit in the project
www.georgia.org/industries/entertainment/production-incentives/

Louisiana

30% partially refundable, fully transferable motion picture production tax credit for expenditures incurred within the state, and an additional 5% credit (up to the first $1,000,000) for the use of Louisiana workers
www.louisianaentertainment.gov

Massachusetts

25% partially refundable, transferable payroll expense credit and a 25% production expense tax credit
www.mafilm.org

Puerto Rico

40% transferable tax credit of the money paid to Puerto Rican resident vendors and individuals
www.puertoricofilm.org

Filming Incentives in Canada

Federal Incentives are 16% of qualifying Canadian labor expenditures and stackable with the following provincial credits:

Alberta

25%–29% cash rebate of qualifying Alberta (AB) expenditures (not limited to AB labor)
www.film.alberta.ca

British Columbia

33% refundable tax credit of qualifying British Columbia (BC) labor expenditures
www.creativebc.com

Manitoba

30% tax credit on all Manitoba (MB) expenditures, including MB labor and MB purchases/rentals OR 45% of qualifying MB labor expenditures
www.mbfilmmusic.ca/en

New Brunswick

25% refundable tax credit of qualifying New Brunswick (NB) expenditures (not limited to NB labor) if no NB company has any ownership in the production; or 30% of qualifying NB labor and other non-labor expenditures if an NB company owns the production
www.nbfilm.ca

Newfoundland

40% refundable tax credit of qualifying Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) labor expenditures
www.nlfdc.ca

Nova Scotia

50% refundable tax credit of eligible NS labor, plus a bonus of 10% of qualifying NS labor expenses for productions shooting outside of metro Halifax and  a “Frequent Filming” bonus of 5% of qualifying labor expenses on 3rd film shot in a 2-year span
www.filmandcreativens.ca

Ontario

25% refundable tax credit of qualifying Ontario (ON) expenditures (not limited to ON labor)
www.omdc.on.ca

Quebec

20% refundable tax credit of qualifying Quebec (QC) expenditures (not limited to QC labor)
www.sodec.gouv.qc.ca/fr/home/english

Yukon

25% cash rebate of below-the-line Yukon (YT) spend, provided criteria are met
www.reelyukon.com

Incentive Definitions

Film Production Rebate
A rebate (or grant) is funds paid to the production company based on the amount of qualifying expenditures, or jobs created in the state or country by the project. The production company does not need to file a tax return for rebates.

Film Refundable Tax Credits
A refundable tax credit is similar in function to a rebate, however, the production company must file a tax return to claim it, and receive a credit for taxes owed. Tax credits can sometimes be used as collateral to obtain a loan so that the production company receives an advance, which is usually discounted.

Film Transferable Tax Credits
A transferable tax credit may be sold or assigned to a local taxpayer. Some states offer transferable tax credits, which allow production companies to sell or get a refund for tax credits that they are not able to use. Many times brokers are used to perform these transactions.

Film Non-Refundable, Non-Transferable Tax Credits
This type of tax credit can be used to offset a production company’s current tax liability, and can be carried forward for a set time, but not transferred to third parties.

The information stated herein is for reference only and based on a source using data as of January 2015. Make sure you consult a qualified tax adviser and professional who is familiar with tax incentive programs to determine the best fit for your project.

 

At the Global Media Desk we have been helping productions find the highest-quality local crews in the United States and Canada for fifteen years.  We are here to help!  Please contact us with any questions you may have about filming in the region or fill out a quote to see how we can make your production a complete success.


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The Global Media Desk provides the highest-quality local resources for media projects taking place around the world. We believe in saving our clients time, money and hassle through expert management, insider knowledge, and an unparalleled global reach. We only work with the top regional professionals in such varied fields as video production, photography and film & video crews. Our dedication to excellence, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness has made us the leading global media services provider.