This article is a list of available film incentives by each state for filmmakers in 2020-2021.

It’s expensive to make a film, so why not make the most of film incentives? Incentives will allow you to save money on taxes, receive discounts on local goods, and even get cashback from the state. Many states have an incentive of some kind to encourage you to shoot your film within them. However, applying for a film tax credit can be complicated, especially since every state has different rules and regulations to follow.

To help make this process as easy as possible, we did a thorough state-by-state breakdown of film incentives in the United States, with precise details on what each state offers.

What are Tax Incentives? 

Film incentives started in the 1990s as a response to production companies choosing to shoot American films abroad. A tax incentive can incentivize a particular economic activity, and there are financial benefits to encouraging filmmakers to shoot within your state. For example, local job creation, spending on local businesses such as hotels, and increased tourism. 

Producers need to weigh up the costs and benefits of shooting locally versus filming in another state or even filming abroad. Film incentives play a significant role in the decision of where to shoot a film. Below you will find a list of all of the states with incentives, a link to the application website, and a breakdown of tax credit details. All of the state incentives below run at least until the end of 2021.

Types of Tax Incentives

  • Refundable Tax Credit – Applies only to tax credits. The state will pay the production company in excess of the company’s owed state tax. 
  • Transferable Refundable Tax Credit – The tax credits can transfer over to a local company so that they can reduce or eliminate their tax liability. 
  • Rebate – A direct payment issued to the production company by the state. 
  • Grant – A direct payment issued to the production company by the state. Unlike rebates, you do not have to pay any tax on a grant.
  • Bonuses – Some states offer additional perks to filmmakers. Such as for using specific locations, local business, or hiring local staff.

State By State Breakdown 

Film incentives vary widely by state, and unfortunately, not all states have incentives. You can find an updated incentive map provided by Media Services. The states that are currently (as of Nov 2020) not providing incentives for filmmakers are: Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. 

For the states that currently do have incentives, we have broken them down state by state below. Click on any state to be scrolled do that section:

Alabama

Incentive Type Non Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Alabama Film
Minimum Spend $500,000
Incentive Cap $20,000,000
Terms 35% to local residents, 25% to non-residents
Description

Both above and below-the-line, resident workers earn a 35% tax incentive. While all other qualified workers and expenditure earn 25%. The production must spend at least $150,000 within 12 months. Qualified spending includes pre-production, production, and post-production costs. 

Arkansas

Incentive Type Rebate
Website Arkansas Production
Minimum Spend $200,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 30% below-the-line residents, 20% to all other staff
Description

Below-the-line, residents receive 30%, while all other staff earn 20%, including above-the-line residents. The production must spend at least $200,000 within 6 months, or $50,000 for post-production projects. Qualified spending includes pre-production, production, and post-production costs.

California

Incentive Type Non Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Film California
Minimum Spend $250,000,000
Incentive Cap 20-25% for all crew, depending on the budget
Terms 30% below-the-line residents, 20% to all other staff
Description

Feature films with budgets between $1 million and $75 million qualify for 20%. Some straight to television and one-off shows with a budget of at least $500,000 are also considered. Television series and independent feature films can apply for 25%, but their budget must be a minimum of $10 million. All productions must spend 75% of their budget shooting within California.

Connecticut

Incentive Type Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Connecticut Film
Minimum Spend $100,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 10-30% for all crew, depending on the budget
Description

Projects with budgets between $100,000 – $500,000 earn 10%, $500,001 – $1,000,000 earn 15%, $1 million and over can apply for as much as 30%. All productions must spend 50% of their principal photography days or post-production budget in Connecticut.

Georgia

Incentive Type Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Georgia USA
Minimum Spend $500,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 20-30% terms and conditions apply
Description

All projects get 20% spend. However, they are awarded an additional 10% if they include the made-in Georgia logo in the film’s opening and links to the Georgia website on the project’s landing page. All production and post-production spend must be in Georgia.

Hawaii

Incentive Type Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Hawaii Film Office
Minimum Spend $200,000
Incentive Cap $15,000,000
Terms 20-25% for all crew, depending on the location
Description

Productions receive 20% for filming on the island of Oahu. 25% tax credit if filming on all other neighboring islands (big island of Hawaii, Kawai, Maui, and Molokai). All productions are required to make an effort to hire local talent and crew.

Idaho

Incentive Type Rebate
Website Idaho Film Office
Minimum Spend $200,000
Incentive Cap $500,000
Terms 20% for all productions
Description

To qualify for a 20% rebate, 35% of the production crew must be Idaho residents. If shooting a television series, each episode can be eligible individually, with a minimum spend of $200,000 per episode.

Illinois

Incentive Type Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Illinois Film Office
Minimum Spend $100,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 30-45% for all crew, terms apply
Description

Feature films receive a 30% tax credit, short films with a budget of at least $50,000 are also eligible. An additional 15% credit will be added for the hiring of local individuals from economically disadvantaged areas.

Kentucky

Incentive Type Non-Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Kentucky Film
Minimum Spend $250,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 35% to local residents, 30% to non-residents
Description

The hiring of local residents is encouraged by earning a 35% tax incentive, non-residents will receive 30%. The production company applying must also be Kentucky based.  Documentaries can apply for tax incentives with a budget of as little as $20,000.

Louisiana

Incentive Type Non-Transferable, Partly Refundable Tax Credit
Website Louisiana Entertainment
Minimum Spend $300,000
Incentive Cap $20,000,000
Terms Up to 45% to local residents, 30% to non-residents
Description

Local Residents receive 40%, while non-residents earn 30%. A Further 5% bonus is available if at least 50% of the VFX budget is spent in Louisiana. Additionally, a 5% bonus is given if the production office and principal photography are outside of the New Orleans Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Maine

Incentive Type Rebate and Tax Credit
Website Film In Maine
Minimum Spend $75,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 12% to residents, 10% to non-residents
Description

Maine offers a wage rebate, 12% to residents and 10% to non-residents. Additionally, they have a 5% non-refundable/non-transferable tax credit for non-wage production expenses that happen in Maine. Fuel and electricity expenses are not included.

Maryland

Incentive Type Non-Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Maryland Film
Minimum Spend $250,000
Incentive Cap $8,000,000
Terms 25-27% for all crew, terms apply
Description

An incentive of 25% is given to all productions. A further 2% can be provided for qualified TV series, including TV pilots. To apply, 50% of total principal photography must be filmed in Maryland. For small independent films, there is a $25,000 minimum in-state spend.

Massachusetts

Incentive Type Transferable, Partly Refundable Tax Credit
Website MA Film
Minimum Spend $50,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 25% for all crew, terms apply
Description

An incentive of 25% is given towards payroll credit. To qualify, a minimum of $50,000 must be spent during the first 12 months of application. Additionally, 50% of the budget or 50% of principal photography must be invested in Massachusetts.

Minnesota

Incentive Type Rebate
Website MN Film TV
Minimum Spend $100,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 20-25% for all crew, terms apply
Description

For feature films, documentary, and music videos, there is a 20% rebate. Furthermore, a 5% bonus is given for projects that spend at least $1 million, or shoot at least 60% outside the metro area. TV series are granted 25% if spending at least $1 million. Post-production can claim back 20-25% credit if spending $50,000 – $200,000 within Minnesota.

Mississippi

Incentive Type Rebate
Website Mississippi Film
Minimum Spend $50,000
Incentive Cap $20,000,000
Terms 30-35% to local residents, 25% to non-residents
Description

Local residents earn a 30% tax incentive, with a 5% bonus for veterans. All non-residents will earn 25%. To apply, the production company or producer must have connections to Mississippi. Additionally, at least 20% of the production crew must be residents.

Montana

Incentive Type Transferable Non-Refundable Tax Credit
Website Montana Film
Minimum Spend $350,000
Incentive Cap $5,000,000
Terms 25% to local residents, 15% to non-residents
Description

Resident workers earn a 25% tax incentive, while all other workers receive 15%. A bonus of 5% is given if expenditures are incurred in an underserved area. You can also gain a 10% bonus for all in-studio facility and equipment rental incurred in the state (must be used for at least 20 days). 50% of all principal photography must take place in Montana.

Nevada

Incentive Type Non Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Nevada Film
Minimum Spend $500,000
Incentive Cap $6,000,000
Terms 15%-25% to local residents, terms apply
Description

All local resident employees receive 15-25%, while non-resident above-the-line workers can earn between 12-17%. Below-the-line, non-residents receive no tax incentive. For a project to qualify, 60% of the budget must be spent in Nevada. An additional 5% bonus is given to all production costs if more than 50% of the below-the-line workers are Nevada residents. Furthermore, another 5% bonus is given if more than 50% of the filming days occur in the state.

New Jersey

Incentive Type Transferable Non-Refundable Tax Credit
Website NJ Motion Picture
Minimum Spend $1,000,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 30-32% for all crew, terms apply
Description

All crew get 30% and a 2% bonus if diversity goals are met (15% of the staff must be either women or from a minority background). Also, a further 5% bonus is given if production expenses are spent within New Jersey. To qualify, at least 60% of the total film expenses must be used within NJ, including post-production costs.

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New Mexico

Incentive Type Transferable Non-Refundable Tax Credit
Website New Mexico Film Office
Minimum Spend None
Incentive Cap None
Terms 25% to all crew, 15% below-the-line non-residents
Description

All crew receives at least 25%, apart from below-the-line, non-residents who earn 15%. There is a 5% bonus for all productions that shoot in rural areas. An additional 5% bonus is given to any TV series shooting at least six episodes in New Mexico.

New York

Incentive Type Non Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website New York State
Minimum Spend $250,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 25-30% for all below-the-line crew
Description

Above-the-line crew earn no incentive, and all below-the-line earn at least 25%. An additional 10% is given if the budget is over $500,000 and spent within an upstate county. There is a minimum budget spend of $1 million if most of the principal photography is shot in Westchester, Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk County, or New York City boroughs.

North Carolina

Incentive Type Rebate
Website Film NC
Minimum Spend $1,000,000
Incentive Cap $7,000,000
Terms 25% for all crew, terms apply
Description

To qualify a minimum of $3 million must be spent on feature films, while made for television movies only need to pay $1 million. In order to apply for a rebate, the production company must have secured at least 75% of its funding before application.

Ohio

Incentive Type Non Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Cleveland Film
Minimum Spend $300,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 30% for all crew, terms apply
Description

Both above, and below-the-line crew will get 30% tax. The only condition is that at least $300,000 is spent in Ohio. Feature films, documentaries, and television series qualify.

Oklahoma

Incentive Type Rebate
Website OK Film
Minimum Spend $25,000
Incentive Cap $8,000,000
Terms 35-37% for all crew, terms apply
Description

All crew above, and below-the-line earn at least 30%. A further 2% bonus is given if a minimum of $20,000 worth of music originally recorded in Oklahoma is used. The overall production budget must be at least $50K with at least $25K being spent in Oklahoma.

Oregon

Incentive Type Rebate
Website Oregon Film
Minimum Spend $1,000,000
Incentive Cap $7,000,000
Terms 10-16.2% for all crew, terms apply
Description

All crew earns at least 10%; however, a bonus is given if residents are hired. An additional 3% is awarded if some of the shooting occurs outside of the Portland Metro Zone. There is also a cash payment payroll bonus of up to 6.2%. To qualify, at least $1 million must be spent on a single project or television series.

Pennsylvania

Incentive Type Transferable Non Refundable Tax Credit
Website Film In PA
Minimum Spend $100,000
Incentive Cap $12,000,000
Terms 25-30% for all crew, terms apply
Description

Both above, and below-the-line crew earn 25%. An additional 5% is added if stage filming requirements are met. To receive the bonus, a project must build one set at a qualified production facility and shoot for at least 10 days. To qualify, 60% of the total production expenses must be in Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

Incentive Type Transferable Non Refundable Tax Credit
Website Rhode Island Film
Minimum Spend $100,000
Incentive Cap $7,000,000
Terms 30% for all crew, terms apply
Description

All crew both above, and below-the-line earn 30% tax credit. The terms are that at least 51% of principal photography or 51% of the production budget must be spent in Rhode Island. Additionally, the production must make an effort to hire local staff. Although any percent of principal photography can be filmed there as long as $10 million is spent.

South Carolina

Incentive Type Rebate
Website Film SC
Minimum Spend $1,000,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 25% for residents, 20% to non-residents
Description

All resident crew earn a wage rebate of 25% and non-residents 20%. At least $1 million must be spent within a single taxable year. For a television series, at least $1 million must be spent per episode. There is also a supplier rebate of 30% for all goods and services purchased and rented from a South Carolina supplier.

Tennessee

Incentive Type Grant
Website Tennessee Entertainment
Minimum Spend $200,000
Incentive Cap $13,000,000
Terms 25% for all residents, terms apply
Description

All the above, and below-the-line residents qualify for the grant. However, a scripted TV show must spend at least $500,000 per episode. After principal photography production, companies must also post a notice in local newspapers where the filming took place, telling the public of the need to file creditor claims.

Texas

Incentive Type Grant
Website Texas Film Commission
Minimum Spend $250,000
Incentive Cap $50,000,000
Terms 5-20%, for all residents, depending on the budget
Description

All resident crew earns 5% if the budget is less than $1 million. And 10% for a budget between $1-3.5 million,  20% for a budget above $3.5 million. A bonus of 2.5% is given for any projects that complete 25% of their filming days in economically disadvantaged areas. To qualify for all grants, 60% of principal photography must take place in Texas.

Utah

Incentive Type Tax Credit and Rebate
Website Film Utah
Minimum Spend $500,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 20-25% for all residents, terms apply
Description

Above, and below-the-line, residents get a 20% tax credit. A further 5% can be granted if $1 million or more is spent in the state of Utah. The 5% bonus can be given if 75% of the cast and crew are from Utah, or 75% of the filming occurs in rural areas. A total of 25% can be given to any production. A cash rebate can be given to projects with less than $500,000, where at least 85% of cast and crew are Utah residents.

Virginia

Incentive Type Non Transferable Refundable Tax Credit
Website Film Virginia
Minimum Spend $250,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 15-25% for residents, 15% non-residents
Description

All crew will receive at least 15%. A 5% bonus is awarded for residents if the production is filmed in an economically disadvantaged area. A 10% bonus is given to non residents if the project budget is between $250,000 and $1 million. To qualify, at least 50% of principal photography must be in Virginia.

Washington

Incentive Type Rebate
Website Washington Film Works
Minimum Spend $300,000
Incentive Cap None
Terms 30-35% to residents, terms apply
Description

There is no incentive for above-the-line, non-residents, while below-the-line, non-residents receive 15-20%. All resident crew gain 30%, and an episodic television series can apply for 35%. All projects must have at least

In Conclusion 

Film incentives can be intimidating at first, but you can save a lot of money by applying for one. As such, a producer needs to get familiar with tax incentives and keep them in mind while budgeting. If you ever need help with your application, you can always contact the individual state film commissions. States want you to choose their location over others, so don’t be afraid to send them over any questions. 

Have you ever used film incentives? Will you be using tax credit incentives on your next production? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • DAVE BRESNAHAN says:

    We are now in post production for Grandpa’s Crazy? An ultra-low-budget featured shot entirely in Utah will 100 percent Utah cast and crew. We were approved for the incentive, and we are thrilled. Utah is a great state for locations, and extremely talented cast and crew. There was a great news story done by the local TV station in Salt Lake City at this link https://fb.watch/1GKAGLrz8m/ which talks about the film incentive from Utah.

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