California Incentives Continue to Combat Other States’ Tax Breaks and Stem Runaway Production

In 2014, the state of California increased the annual allocation for its film tax incentive program from $100 million to $330 million. The expansion covers five years and $1.65 billion in tax credits. The credit is set at 20%, with a 5% uplift for shooting outside the official 30-mile Los Angeles zone.

Applications are ranked based on how many jobs they will produce – an actual jobs ratio score – unlike the old method whereby the breaks were awarded via a lottery system. By many accounts, the program has helped boost film and TV production in the Golden State, although other states such as Georgia and New York continue to compete hard.

The program expansion, enacted by California lawmakers and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, covers five years and $1.65 billion in tax credits.

In addition to the 20% standard credit, a 25% non-transferable is available for relocating TV series, a 25% transferable tax credit is offered for independent films, and a 20% non-transferable tax credit is available for feature films, TV movies and miniseries, new TV series and TV pilots. The maximum credit a production can earn from the state is 25%

Recent productions availing themselves of California’s incentives include TV’s “Twin Peaks,” “Westworld” (pictured above), “This Is Us,” “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” and “Animal Kingdom.” Recent features taking advantage of the California program include “Wrinkle in Time,” “Suburbicon” and “Battle of the Sexes.”

20% Nontransferable tax credit for features, TV movies and miniseries, new TV series and pilots
5% Credit uplift for projects shot outside the 30-mile Los Angeles Studio Zone and for music and visual effects
Information courtesy of EP Financial Solutions, a production incentive consulting and financial services company.

More Artisans

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    How 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood' Turned the Clock Back for Its Shoot

    Crossing the street took months for the crew that turned back the clock 50 years on Hollywood Boulevard for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Production designer Barbara Ling created false fronts for buildings that were constructed off-site and installed by crane just ahead of the shoot. Set decorator Nancy Haigh described [...]

  • Just Roll With It Disney Channel

    Disney Channel's Scripted-Improv Comedy Crew Shares How They 'Just Roll With It'

    The title of the new Disney Channel series “Just Roll With It” appears to be as much a directive for its cast and crew as it is a description of the multi-camera hybrid sitcom, which is part scripted and part improv. The plot revolves around the blended Bennett-Blatt family — strict mom Rachel (Suzi Barrett), [...]

  • "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout" cast

    'SpongeBob' Voice Cast on Acting Together in Live-Action for 20th Anniversary Special

    On a brisk morning in February, the members of the voice cast of Nickelodeon’s flagship animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants” gathered to work on a new episode, like they’ve done most weeks over the past 20 years. But instead of being in a recording booth, this time they’ve assembled at a diner in Castaic, Calif., shooting [...]

  • Motion Picture Editors Guild to Honor

    Motion Picture Editors Guild to Honor Veteran Executive Martin Cohen

    The Motion Picture Editors Guild will honor veteran post-production executive and producer Martin Cohen with its Fellowship and Service Award. Cohen worked at Amblin, DreamWorks and Paramount. He was a co-producer on “The Hunger Games” and supervised the restoration Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” trilogy and “Jaws.” The award recognizes an individual who embodies the values set [...]

  • Game of Thrones Iceland TV Incentives

    Iceland Offers Productions Majestic Landscapes, Stunning Architecture and a 25% Rebate

    Few places on Earth contain the natural majesty of Iceland. The Nordic island, nestled between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, holds some of the most breathtaking natural wonders on the planet: the fiery pyrotechnics of live volcanoes, steam curling up from natural hot springs, vertiginous drops from oceanside cliffs and waterfalls cascading into [...]

  • Schitt's Creek Wigs

    'Schitt's Creek': Inside Moira Rose's Iconic Wig Collection

    Moira Rose, the family matriarch of cult classic “Schitt’s Creek,” is known for several things: her pronunciation of the word “bebe,” her love for her TV family (and sometimes Alexis) and her countless vibrant wigs. Played by the always delightful Catherine O’Hara, each episode (and wig) is a joy to witness on screen. “I think [...]

  • Kira Kelly Cinematographer Queen Sugar

    'Queen Sugar' DP on How Ava DuVernay Encourages Creativity on the OWN Series

    Cinematographer Kira Kelly, who earned an Emmy nomination for her work on Ava DuVernay’s “13th,” feels that her time spent on nonfiction projects over the past two decades has improved her ability to cope with the demands of shooting narrative fare.  The scaled-down resources — often just Kelly and maybe a focus puller or a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content