Florida Announces Film Tax Credit Program

The State of Florida has authorized a tax credit program, effective July 1, 2010 that is intended to encourage the use of the state as a location for filming and to develop and sustain the workforce and infrastructure for film, digital media and entertainment production. The tax credit program is a five year program, totaling $242 million in available tax credits with $53.5 million in credits available for distribution during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Program Details 

  • Tax credit of 20% for use against sales and use tax liabilities for:
    • Qualified production other than a commercial, music video, or independent Florida film – total qualified expenses
      • Must have minimum of $625,000 in qualified expenditures
    • Commercial or music video production – total qualified expenses up to $500,000
      • Must have minimum of $100,000 in qualified expenditures per national or regional commercial or music video, and 
      • Exceeds a combined threshold of $500,000 after combining actual qualified expenditures from qualified commercials and music videos during a single state fiscal year
    • Independent film – total qualified expenses
      • Must have minimum of $100,000 but not more than $625,000 in qualified expenditures
      • Must meet following requirements:
        • Employ legal residents of the state for at least two of the positions of writer, director, producer, star or composer
        • Must be a feature film or documentary of at least 70 minutes in length
  • Additional 5% credit of total qualified expenses is available for productions in which
    • At least 75% or more of principal photography is filmed from June 1 through November 30 ("off season"),  and 
    • The production is a feature film, independent film, commercial, or television series pilot
  • Additional 5% credit of total qualified expenses is available for productions that are determined by the Commissioner of Film and Entertainment to be family-friendly.

Program Requirements 

  • Qualified Production must be a production in the state of Florida, in which:
    •  For the first 2 years,  at least 50%, and thereafter, at least 60% of the positions that make up its production cast and below-the-line production crew are filled by legal residents of the state.
    • In the case of digital media projects, at least 75% of such positions are filled by legal residents of the state.
  • A qualified production company may submit a program application to the Office of Film and Entertainment no earlier than 6 months before the principal photography or digital media project start date. 
  • The application form must include:
    • Production-related information concerning employment of residents of Florida
    • A detailed budget of planned qualified expenditures
    • The applicant’s signed affirmation that the information and form has been verified and is correct.
  • Actual qualified expenditures must be verified by a certified public accountant licensed in the state of Florida.
    • Accountant will conduct a compliance audit to substantiate each qualified expenditure, and submit the results as a report along with the required substantiating data to the Office of Film and Entertainment.

Qualified Expenditures 

  • Qualified expenditures includes production expenditures incurred in the state of Florida for:
    • Goods purchased or leased from, or services which are provided by, a vendor or supplier in the state of Florida that is registered with the Department of State or the Department of Revenue and doing business in the state and whose primary employees that facilitated the transaction are legal residents of and employed in this state.
    • Payments to legal residents of this state in the form of salary, wages, or other compensation up to a maximum of $650,000 per resident unless otherwise specified.
    • Qualified expenditures do not include costs for development, marketing, and distribution.
  • Proof of residency is satisfied when residency is demonstrated by a valid Florida driver’s license or other state-issued identification confirming residency, or students enrolled full-time in a film-and-entertainment-related course of study at an institution of higher education in the state of Florida.

Issuance of Tax Credit 

  • Credit is awarded by the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development after production is completed and all requirements have been met.
  • Production company may apply the credit against taxes due, or elect to transfer the credit.
    • If the entire credit cannot be used in the taxable year of the reporting period in which the credit is awarded, any excess may be carried forward for a maximum of 5 years.

For additional information, please visit: Florida's Office of Film and Entertainment 

EisnerAmper is a leading accounting firm offering film production incentive services to production companies.

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