Florida OKs tax breaks for film, TV

Governor creates $242 million transferable credit

In a bid to keep up with the incentives arms race, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday inked legislation that creates a five-year, $242 million transferable tax credit for the state’s film and entertainment industry.

Appropriate projects will receive a rebate of 20% to 30% on qualified Florida expenditures. The credit covers up to 20% of production expenditures, with an $8 million cap for major productions. It allocates a 5% bonus for “family-friendly” projects and an additional 5% for activity taking place during hurricane season — for a total possible rebate of 30%.

The program covers in-state and out-of-state productions, as well as post-production, digital and vfx projects. It goes into effect July 1 and authorizes $53.5 million in transferable tax credits for the 2010-11 fiscal year. In the following year, the total jumps to $74.5 million and then drops to $38 million for the three subsequent years.

However, the numbers are not set in stone.

“The intent is for the program to roll over every year,” said Suzy Spang, veep of the Metro Orlando Film and Entertainment Commission, “so the per-year amount is not necessarily finite.”

Producers can begin applying online as early as June 9.

Prior to the new package, incentives were meted out on a year-to-year basis and film offices had to keep returning to the legislature annually for funding.

“We never knew from one year to the next what the rebate would be,” Spang said. “This stabilizes everything.”

Program applies to features, docus, scripted and reality TV, commercials, educational content, musicvideos and vidgames.

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