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North Carolina beefs up incentive

Tax refund program boosts maximum payout

After lobbying from showbiz, North Carolina has bumped the maximum payout on its film production tax incentive from $7.5 million to $20 million.

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue signed the bill amending the program into law last week. A separate bill, also recently signed, eliminates the 6.9% corporate income tax on the incentive refunds.

The state, which refunds 25% of taxes paid on qualifying film productions, will offer a 15% incentive to videogame developers or those “developing interactive digital media,” reflecting the growth of the vidgame production community in Raleigh-Durham’s Research Triangle Park.

The state’s film office said showbiz brought $326 million into the state last year — the CW’s “One Tree Hill” is shooting its eighth season in North Carolina.

During her March visit to Los Angeles, film execs complained to Perdue that the caps on per-production and per-person payouts were too low and should be removed.

The newly raised per-production payout cap may help to attract business, but the $1 million per-person cap remains in place. However, expenses that qualify for the incentive have been broadened to include labor fringe benefits, per diems, stipends, and living expenses.

The state’s film office originally proposed a complete removal of both caps, but the legislature balked. In her signing of the bill, Perdue remarked that she ultimately hoped to see both limitations removed.

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