Producers looking for tax breaks will have only six hours to submit

Producers looking for tax breaks for projects shooting in California will have just six hours on June 1 to hand over applications to the state’s film commission.

While the window will be open from just 9 am to 3 pm, reps for the film commission say that’s all that’s necessary to fill up the state’s annual incentive budget.

“We will exhaust all $100 million in tax breaks on June 1st,” Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission, told a crowd at the group’s 6th annual breakfast on Friday.

The office, which estimates that it’s approved $300 million in incentives on 116 projects since introducing the program in 2009, says it’ll approve the next round of projects by June 2.

The commission will waitlist projects that don’t get a stamp of approval immediately. But, Lemisch says, the org approved most of last year’s waitlisted projects after others dropped out.

She also says that, so far, the incentives have brought more than $2.2 billion into the state, $728 million of which went to below-the-line workers.

That’s good news for both film crews and producers looking to film in the California.

In recent weeks, incentive programs in states including New Mexico and Michigan have come under fire, with many lawmakers calling for moderate to severe cuts in their respective programs.

California currently offers a 20% tax credit for feature films budgeted between $1 and $75 million, tv movies and mini-series. The state offers a 25% credit for projects including TV series which relocate to California or to indie films budgeted between $1 and $10 million.

Earlier this year, local politicians drew up a bill, AB1069, to extend the program an extra five years through 2019.

Many location managers say that passing AB1069 would help California’s incentive program by increasing its reputation for stability. In many cases, as with Michigan, just a whiff of instability in a tax credit program has been enough to scare studios away. Marvel superhero actioner “The Avengers” pulled out last month, right before hundreds of local filmmakers and crew gathered to protest Governor Snyder’s proposed cuts.

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