Business

Guide to the New York Film Tax Credit

The New York film tax credit is an incentive program created to bring more film and television productions into the state.

The New York film tax credit is an incentive program created to bring more film and television productions into the state. If the production qualifies, you receive a tax credit for filming in or composing the film in New York state.

The program works to promote the economy by bolstering the film and post-production industries. This guide reflects changes to the legislation made up to and including the revision of April 3rd, 2020.

What Does the Program Include?

The annual budget of $420 million for the tax credit program extended until at least December 31st, 2025, so filmmakers can rest easy knowing that there is a lot to go around. With recent changes to the bill, the amount received back in credit has decreased somewhat.

If a production qualifies, it will now receive a 25% credit. Similarly, qualifying post-productions will receive a 30% or 25% credit if the facility is outside of or within the metropolitan commuter transportation district, respectively.

Who Does This Program Serve?

First off, the tax credit program does not apply to documentary, reality TV, news, or current affairs productions. These types of programs do not qualify for the credit. 

Unfortunately, due to the recent changes in legislation, the New York tax credit is no longer a feasible option for small-budget indie filmmakers.

To qualify for a tax credit, there is now a minimum required budget. A total of $250,000 must be spent on the film if most of it is filmed in New York state and a $1 million minimum that must be spent if the majority is filmed in New York City, Nassau, Rockland, Westchester, or Suffolk Counties.

While this does raise the bar for who can qualify for the tax credit, it does encourage larger production companies to film in New York. Additionally, there are exceptions for TV show pilots.

Who is Eligible for Tax Credits?

Two types of credits are awarded depending on qualifications: one for production that is filmed mainly within the state, and one for programs that are filmed outside the state but contract a post-production company within it.

A production must have one of the following to be eligible for the filming credit:

  • Film 1-10% of the principal photography days in a facility qualified by the state if the budget is over $3 million; OR
  • Film 75% of the principal photography days in a facility qualified by the state if the budget is less than $3 million.

They must also spend 75% of the budget at a facility qualified by the state. This portion of the budget can be put towards labor costs, equipment, sets, etc.

To be considered eligible for the post-production credit, a production must:

  • Employ a state-qualified post-production facility that sees the film to completion.
  • Spend 75% of the post-production budget on this facility

These costs can be applied to editing, sound, etc., but not to visual effects or animation.

For visual effects and animation to qualify, at least 20% of the budget – or $3 million – must be spent on a state-qualified facility. This is due to the frequency of out-sourcing for animation.

If the post-production and the visual effects and animation threshold is met, then the total costs incurred can be applied to the post-production tax credit eligibility.

The production is only eligible for either type of credit if it is a feature film, TV movie, TV series, relocated TV series, or pilot.

Applications

Each credit has a different application process and due date. For further reading, check out Film Financing and Television Programming or An Essential Resource for Global Production Incentives.

Previous

Sony Charges Fees for Crossplay Support

Back to Business