The California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act created a five-year film incentive program (Program 2.0) beginning in fiscal year 2015-16. The program is managed by the California Film Commission. Under the program, $330 million in tax credits is made available each year for the purposes of bringing film projects to California.
Aimed at retaining and attracting production jobs and economic activity across the state, California’s new incentive expands eligibility for a wide range of project types that were excluded from the first-generation program. Such projects include big-budget feature films, TV pilots, and 1-hr TV series for any distribution outlet.
Under Program 2.0, tax credits are allocated from four dedicated funding “buckets” that target different categories of production. Having set buckets for different types of production ensures that each category is always allocated a certain amount of annual funding.
To select which projects receive film tax credits, Program 2.0 replaces the lottery system used previously with a “jobs ratio” ranking. The new ranking system selects projects based primarily on wages paid to below-the-line workers. It also takes into account qualified non-labor spending (vendor payments, equipment, etc.) and other criteria that allow applicants to accrue “bonus points.”
In addition, “uplifts” (an additional 5% tax credit) are now available for projects that shoot outside the Los Angeles 30-mile zone, or have qualified expenditures for visual effects (minimum thresholds apply), or perform music scoring/track recording in California.