Skip to content
Talk to Sales

    Which States Have The Best Tax Incentive Opportunities For Your Production?

    The film & TV industry has become a significant contributor to the economy in various states across the United States. To attract filmmakers to their jurisdictions and boost local economies, states offer advantageous production tax incentives. 

    Here we’ll explore some of the states offering production incentives, allowing filmmakers to save money, enhance their production budgets, and bring their creative visions to life.

    We'll break down which states are potentially worth considering based on four buckets:

    • States that offer diverse landscapes
    • Good states to consider if location is not a priority
    • States to consider if turnaround time on your tax credit isn’t critical to production
    • The states that should be at the top of your list if you're looking for rebates

    Let's jump in. 

    States that offer diverse landscapes 

    Choosing the best filming location for your project is one of the most important decisions you can make. It could impact everything from your schedule to your budget, and more. The filming location could come down to the necessities of the story being portrayed. 

    The below states offer incredibly diverse landscapes to reach a wide range of location-specific needs as well as offer cost effective production incentives.


    California is, simply put, a filmmaker’s dream when it comes to landscape diversity. From cityscapes to mountains, desolate deserts to the redwood forests, and beautiful coastal scenery & beaches, California offers more than a wide array of environments to filmmakers. California’s film production tax credit program offers a 20%-25% tax credit to qualified productions filming in the state. 


    Colorado’s vibrant and diverse landscapes have made it a prime destination for filmmakers, along with its appealing refundable tax credit. Colorado offers productions a 20% base tax credit on eligible costs, with a 2% uplift if production uses local infrastructure, rural or marginalized urban locations.   


    Georgia has a booming production scene, set within a huge and diverse landscape. They have everything from soaring skyscrapers, to abundant forests, and hidden waterfalls. Georgia’s 20% transferable tax credit, with a 10% promotional marketing uplift, makes it easy to see why it’s a popular choice for filmmakers.


    The state's diverse landscapes, mild temperatures, and vibrant cultural heritage make it an appealing backdrop for many projects, in addition to Louisiana’s production incentives offering a 25% base tax credit on eligible expenditures and an additional 15% tax credit for LA resident payroll costs. 


    Anthony Bourdain once said, “Montana is the landscape that generations of dreamers, despots, adventurers, explorers, crackpots, and heroes fought and died for. It's one of the most beautiful places on Earth. There is no place like it.” 

    The Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement (MEDIA) Act offers production a 20% base transferable tax credit which can increase up to 35% with the various uplifts provided. Additional tax credits can be earned on items such as payroll costs to resident crew, payroll paid to a student enrolled in a MT college, expenditures towards facility rentals, underserved county spend, post-production labor costs and including an MT screen credit in the projects credits.     


    Utah not only has unique desert lands and mountain ranges… they can also provide charming towns and urban cityscapes in addition to a refundable 25% production tax credit on eligible in-state costs. 

    Let’s do a quick hypothetical for Colorado, Georgia, and Louisiana. We'll give a film a fictional budget of $12,000,000 and see how it would break down based on the state base tax credits % that includes assumed qualified in-state expenditures, resident in-state payroll costs, and non-resident in-state payroll costs.

    Tax Credit Example 02

    If location doesn’t matter

    While there are many factors that go into selecting a filming location, if the geographical look of your project isn’t as important to the story, the below states offer very competitive incentive programs and filming infrastructure.


    The Illinois Film Production Tax Credit Act, offers production a transferable tax credit of 30% of all qualified expenditures, including post-production costs. Productions can receive an additional 15% credit on salaries of individuals who live in economically disadvantaged areas (unemployment rate is at least 150% of the State’s annual average.) 


    The Kentucky Entertainment Incentive Program provides productions with a 30% refundable tax credit on qualifying expenditures and non-resident ATL & BTL payroll costs. Productions will receive a 35% credit on resident ATL & BTL payroll costs. A 5% uplift is available for qualifying expenditures and non-resident ATL & BTL payroll costs if the project is filmed in an Enhanced Incentive County


    Massachusetts attracts production with a tax credit of 25% on production spending & payroll expenditures. There are no annual or project caps, and no residency requirements. 

    New Jersey

    Qualified productions in New Jersey can receive a transferable tax credit of 35% on qualified cast and crew salaries, which includes both ATL (up to $500K) & BTL wages. Productions will also receive a 30% credit on purchases and rentals used within the 30 mile radius of Columbus Circle in NYC, and a 35% credit on purchases, rentals and services used outside the 30 mile radius of Columbus Circle in NYC. There is also a 2% diversity uplift available to qualifying projects. It is also important to note that there are no residency requirements for the tax credit. 

    New Mexico

    Productions that meet the requirements of the Film Production Tax Credit Act can obtain a 25% base tax credit, with potential uplifts for Series Television & Standalone Pilots Intended For Series (additional 5% credit), filming at a Qualified Production Facility (additional 5% credit on facility costs), and filming outside the Santa Fe and Albuquerque City Halls (additional 10% credit on costs spent in those areas). 

    Note, the maximum credit amount a production can receive is 40%. Also note, New Mexico allows for a 15% credit on specific qualifying below-the-line positions.     

    If timing doesn’t matter

    New York

    One of the most popular filming locations, of course, is New York! If turnaround time on your tax credit isn’t as critical to production, New York is an excellent option. The New York State Film Tax Credit Program offers productions a 30% refundable tax credit on their qualified production costs & payroll spend. There is a 10% uplift on qualified payroll costs incurred in certain upstate counties. In addition, New York has no residency requirements and just updated their program to allow specific above the line positions to qualify. 

    New York also provides a post only refundable tax credit of 30%, with a 10% uplift on qualified post production payroll costs incurred in certain upstate counties and a 5% uplift on qualified post production expenditures incurred in certain upstate counties. 

    ➡️ Related: New To Film Incentives? What You Need To Know

    Considering rebates? Don’t miss these states

    If you’re after rebates, which are direct reimbursements of a percentage of production’s eligible expenditures incurred within a certain state, then the following states could be for you. 


    Minnesota offers both a transferable tax credit and a production rebate, along with several regional incentives. The Minnesota Production Rebate provides a 20% reimbursement to productions that spend at least $100,000 on eligible production costs and a 25% reimbursement to productions that spend at least $1,000,000 on eligible production costs, or shoot at least 60% outside the metro area.


    The Mississippi Motion Picture Incentive Program provides a rebate on eligible expenditures and payroll incurred in the state. A production is eligible for a 25% rebate on eligible expenditures in MS, a 30% rebate on resident cast & crew payroll costs (subject to MS tax), and a 25% rebate on non-resident payroll costs (subject to MS tax). There is also a 5% uplift on payroll paid to any member of the cast & crew who is an honorably discharged veteran of the US Armed Forces.

    North Carolina

    North Carolina offers a 25% rebate on qualifying purchases made by productions within the state, and there are no residency requirements for the cast & crew. 


    Projects approved for the Filmed in Oklahoma Act may receive a base rebate of 20% on qualified expenditures and a 30% rebate on Oklahoma resident labor. They also offer several uplifts for spending in rural counties, filming in a small municipality, filming at a soundstage, shooting multiple projects in Oklahoma over 3 years, filming a TV project, performing post in Oklahoma, or spending related to music production.  


    Oregon’s Film & Media Incentive programs can rebate 25% of productions Oregon-based goods & services, and an additional rebate of up to 26.2% of payroll wages paid to crew working in the state.

    Need some help?

    There are many states across the US that offer tax incentives for your production. You just need to find the best location and program that best suits your project's needs. Easier said than done, but the effort can really pay off.

    ✅ GreenSlate’s tax incentive website tools can provide you with detailed information to help make that decision a bit easier for you. Check out our production incentive tools to find out more about all the programs across the United States, and if you need more support we also offer tax incentives management services.

    Topics: Tax Incentives

    Michele Miller

    Vice President of Production Tax Incentives at GreenSlate.

    April 19, 2024

    background triangle design

    Related Posts

    Access our blog for the inside scoop on what’s happening around the production office.