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Washington D.C. Offers Producers a Hefty Tax Rebate, Political Gravitas

Back in 1939, when Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” starring James Stewart, filmed in the nation’s capital, today’s tax incentives did not exist but Columbia Pictures shot in Washington D.C. to give the movie a sense of authenticity. In the climate of today’s incentives arms race, with jurisdictions seeking to outdo each other as they lure filmmakers, studios traveling to the banks of the Potomac can benefit from a hefty 35% rebate on qualified spend.

To be eligible for the incentive, a project must spend a minimum of $250,000. In addition, the 35% rebate is subject to taxation in the District of Columbia.

Also offered: a 21% rebate on qualified production expenditures spent with District of Columbia-registered vendors; this is not subject to taxation in the District.

Additional specifics include a 30% rebate on qualified District resident personnel expenditures; a 10% rebate on qualified out-of-state personnel expenditures; and a 50% rebate on qualified job-training expenditures.

In addition to “Mr. Smith,” other films shot in Washington D.C. include “Advise and Consent” (1962), “The Exorcist” (1972), “All the President’s Men” (1976), “Independence Day” (1996), and “State of Play” (2009).

More recent projects shot in D.C. include HBO series “Veep,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014), “Snowden” 2015), “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016), “Jason Bourne” (2016), and “Miss Sloane” (2016).

35% Rebate on qualified production expenditures, subject to D.C. taxation
21% Rebate on qualified production expenditures spent with D.C.-registered vendors, not subject to D.C. taxation
Information courtesy of EP Financial Solutions, a production incentive consulting and financial services company.


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