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Iowa film credits back, but California out of money for its moviemaker tax break

Despite many detractors, state programs that provide tax breaks to lure filmmakers continue to be popular among the agencies doing the doling out.

In Iowa, where scandal forced the suspension of the Hawkeye State's film tax credit program and the filing of criminal charges alleging theft and mismanagement, two movies have just received Iowa Film, Television, and Video Promotion Program tax credits. 

Clapper Board

Sam Steele & the Junior Detective Agency, set in Des Moines, and Ash are the first two productions to receive the tax breaks under the state's "fully revised process" that is administered by the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED).

"We are very pleased to be able to assist these companies with their Iowa projects," said Bret Mills, IDED director. "IDED, the Department of Revenue, Auditor of State's Office and the Office of the Attorney General, have designed and implemented a comprehensive process to ensure all parties involved have a clear understanding of the program and also that a full audit of the project is completed prior to the issuance of the tax credits."

Out on the Left Coast: Meanwhile, California is not faring so well with its film tax credits.

The Golden State has run out of money for its film tax credit program, which provides filmmakers a 2 percent to 25 percent tax credit on qualified production expenses. The credit can be applied to offset state income or sales tax liabilities.

The California Film Commission has allocated all of the $100 million in tax credits in 2010 to 30 projects. The commission also has a waiting list of 45 projects.

"The demand is far exceeding the supply,'' California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch told the Los Angeles Times. "We ran out on the first day of funding."

"The good thing is that we have some 30 projects that were able to get the funding. The bad thing is that there's another 50 projects that we'll lose out to Louisiana, London, New York and Texas."

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It begs the question if California is going to wise up and simply stop taxing film production altogether.

One of the original attractions of Hollywood was reduced filming costs thanks to predictable(ish) weather.


thanks, Joe, for the Kentucky update. Hollywood, thanks to tax breaks, truly going across the country for better or worse ...

Joe T. Taxpayer

The Commonwealth of Kentucky will be introducing a new Film Industry Tax Credit for the first time in the 2010 tax year. There is a $5 million cap during the first year. Should be interesting to see how many taxpayers actually benefit from this credit.

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