Bay State attempts to lure biz with tax incentives

It’s taken years of discussion and months slogging through the system, but Massachusetts finally has tax incentives for film and TV producers.

Just before Thanksgiving, Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law a tax package intended to encourage film production in the Bay State. It had passed the state House last spring but was approved by the Senate only two weeks ago.

Productions that run up tabs of at least $250,000 in state can claim income and corporate excise tax credits equal to 20% of the Massachusetts payroll for the film. Salaries of $1 million or more are excluded from the payroll calculation.

Productions where 50% or more of the budget is spent in state, or more than 50% of the production occurs in state, will be eligible for a further tax credit of 25% for all production expenses excluding payroll.

A third break goes to films or TV productions that spend more than $250,000 in a one-year period. In that event, producers can claim a sales tax exemption.

For those trying to add it all up, the law caps the total tax credits available for any one production at $7 million.

House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi said, “This law will send a very strong message to a multibillion-dollar industry that Massachusetts is back and open for business.”

Added Romney, “Massachusetts is ready for its close-up.”

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