Tax Incentives for Film and Television in the Southeast

In Georgia, qualifying production companies may receive tax credits of up to 30% against state taxes, and these tax credits may also be sold in the market at a discount (one-time), providing a decent return on investment to a tax credit-purchasing taxpayer. The credits can also provide additional income to the production company, and help make up short falls in the budget. There is a minimum spend of $500,000 on qualified production or post-production in the state, with no limits or caps or sunset clause. Commercials and music videos can be grouped together to reach the minimum spend.

North Carolina offers a 25% refundable tax credit, with a minimum spend of $250,000 and no annual cap but project cap of $20M, with a sunset of January 1, 2015.

Tennessee offers up to 25% cash rebates (grants) to qualifying production companies for TN labor and vendor expenditures. There is a minimum spend of $200,000.

Alabama offers qualifying production companies up to 25% of refundable tax credits, and a 35% rebate for wages paid to in-state residents. There is a minimum spend of $500,000 on qualified production or post-production in the state ($50,000 for soundtrack production), with a project cap of $15M (2013 & 2014) and $20M (2015).

A highly favorable tax treatment is driving the film and television industries into the Southeast. These tax incentives have resulted in rapidly expanding opportunities for creative people in film and TV. Independent film producers coming into the region will find an “open shop” labor pool, rich in talented actors, writers and craftsmen, and pleasant and mild weather. Production starts are booming and the future looks bright for all. Mark A. Baker Law focuses on artists, artisans, skilled crew and independent producers in the film and TV realms, concentrating on contract review, drafting and negotiation.

Do I Need to Work With a Lawyer? Some points to consider:

  • Are you scheduled to work, as talent or crew, on a current production and being asked to sign an agreement? You’ll want to make sure you’re getting a fair deal on factors like day rate, overtime pay, travel expenditures, what happens if the shoot goes past schedule or gets scrapped, will they feed you, and more.
  • Do you have an offer to option your book for film, or maybe a script under consideration? From ancillary rights to royalties and more, make sure you are protected and making the wisest decisions for your future.
  • Does a production company want to use your house for location shooting? Hiring out your home is a nice way to help pay off the mortgage, but you’ll want to also consider the 30 plus people who may be in your home (including all those vehicles on your street) and the changes they will make to your property.

Get legal and business advice before you sign a contract. Mark A. Baker Law represents a variety of interests in the film and television industry.

Representative services include:

  • Preparation and negotiation of various film/TV industry agreements and releases
  • literary acquisition agreements
  • talent employment and work-for-hire agreements (writers, actors, directors, producers, below the line talent and extras)
  • film music master use licenses
  • synchronization licenses
  • composer agreements
  • writer collaboration agreements
  • life-story rights agreement
  • depiction release, studio submission release
  • publicity rights (name, likeness and image) releases
  • film location agreement/releases
  • poster/artwork clearance and releases
  • counseling and representing production companies
  • above and below the line talent, actors and writers
  • idea non-disclosure/confidentiality agreements
  • liability protection against ‘idea theft’ claims
  • trademark registration (company name, stage name, logo)
  • copyright registration (script, film/motion picture)
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