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    Reopening for Production in the COVID-19 Era

    As more states reopen for productions, many have released resources and recommendations for filmmaking in their jurisdictions. 


    There are universal precautions that apply to any production, regardless of the location - such as limiting contact and implementing staggered work shifts, which are outlined in publications like the “Proposed Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic" - while some locations have more specific restrictions including quarantine requirements.

    With GreenSlate, your production office doesn’t have to be on set. Our platform makes contactless collaboration without paper or trips to set easy and seamless.  

    For more information on how you can take your production office remote, check out our "Ten Solutions for Taking Your Production Office Remote" blog.


    Georgia was one of the first states in the U.S. to begin easing restrictions on businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. In May, it became the first state to establish official safety guidelines for film and TV production to resume on its sets.

    Resources and Requirements for Filming:

    Incentive Program Highlights:

    The Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act grants an income tax credit of 20%, with a 10% uplift for including a Georgia Entertainment Promotion Logo in the end credits of the finished product. 

    • Transferable tax credit
    • 5 year carryforward
    • $500,000 minimum spend 
    • Loan outs require 6% withholding 
    • Screen credit required 

    On January 1st, 2021, Georgia House Bill 1037 will go into effect. The new tax credit law will further reinforce the state’s status as the “Hollywood of the South” and will introduce changes to improve the integrity of the film tax credits under the Georgia Entertainment Incentive Act. Key changes are highlighted below.

    • Requires mandatory audits of film tax credits by approved third-party CPAs
    • Removes the right of recapture by the state for any tax credits that undergo the new audit process
    • Modifies tax credit eligibility to start from the date that the audit is completed
    • Reduces the tax credit carryforward period from 5 years to 3 years
    • Clarifies rules related to qualified expenditures


    After several months of being forced to go on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, film and TV production was approved to restart on O‘ahu on June 5, 2020, with new safety protocols in place.

    Resources and Requirements for Filming:

    Incentive Program Highlights: 

    Hawaii offers attractive tax incentives for filmmakers, including a 20-25% Refundable Production Tax Credit and an annual rolling cap of $50 million, as of July 9, 2019.

    • $200,000 minimum for in state spending
    • Screen credit required
    • Third-party CPA review required. Fees for the third-party review are considered qualified as long as Hawaii state tax was charged.
    • Registration with the Hawaii Film Office/Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism at least 5 days before the first shoot day required
    • Evidence of financial or in-kind contributions or educational or workforce development efforts toward the furtherance of the local film, television and digital media industries that is valued at 0.1% of the productions Hawaii Spend or $1,000, whichever is greater, required


    On August 3, Louisiana state officials announced safety guidelines for resuming film production in the state, paving the way for movie and television production to return. Some of the safety measures include reducing the number of personnel that need to work at the office with remote working, making the accounting department paperless with digital start work, contracts, timecards, invoices, etc., temperature checks and assigning a COVID-19 compliance officer. The majority of Louisiana-based film productions have been on hiatus since the initial COVID-19 outbreak. However, some productions are already making plans to resume and activity is expected to ramp up in August and September.

    Resources and Requirements for Filming:

    Incentive Program Highlights:

    The Motion Picture Production Program provides state-certified motion picture productions with up to a 40 percent tax credit on eligible in-state expenditures. These include resident and non-resident labor. Program is subject to an issuance cap of $150 million per fiscal year and a claims cap of $180 million per fiscal year.

    • Refundable/transferable tax credit
    • 25% base credit; uplifts: 15% resident labor, 5% out of zone, 5% VFX costs
    • Minimum spend of $300,000
    • Program is funded $150 million per year
    • Screen credit required
    • CPA audit required
    • Loan out withholding required


    Montana entered phase two of reopening on June 1, 2020, and is closely monitoring each step. Film producers and crews can operate in Montana while maintaining social distancing requirements and CDC/public health best practices.  

    Resources and Requirements for Filming:

    Incentive Program Highlights:

    Montana’s MEDIA Act, which became effective July 1, 2019, offers a 20% production expenditure tax credit, with additional components that can increase the transferable credit to a maximum of 35% of total base film production investment. 

    • Transferable tax credit
    • Carryforward 5 years
    • Allowable Uplifts:
      • 25% of compensation for Montana resident crews
      • 15% of compensation for non-Montana resident crew
      • 30% of compensation paid to students
      • 20% of above the line compensation per production or television series season, with ceiling
      • 10% of payments to Montana colleges or universities
      • 10% of all in-studio facility and equipment rental expenditures
      • 5% of expenditures in a high poverty county
      • 25% of post-production wages (effective 2021)
      • 5% for Montana screen credit
    • Program is funded $10 million dollars per year
    • Loan out withholding of 6.9% required
    • CPA review required
    • Screen credit required 
    • Pre-certification required, along with a nonrefundable filing fee
    • Production companies registration with the Secretary of State required


    On June 24th, New York’s Governor’s office issued guidelines for film and TV production to restart in Phase Four of its New York Forward regional phased reopening plan. The city also began accepting film permit applications for the first time since COVID-19 hit for work starting after June 30, limited to a cast and crew of no more than ten with a series of other restrictions.

    Resources and Requirements for Filming:

    Incentive Program Highlights:

    Production companies with applications submitted after 4/1/20 are eligible to receive a refundable credit of 25% of qualified production costs and post-production costs incurred in the state. Applicants can receive a 10% uplift on out of zone labor costs, as well as a 5% uplift on post only out of zone spend.

    Additional program highlights:

    • Fully refundable tax credit
    • Program is funded $420 million per year
    • No loan out withholding or registration requirement
    • Screen credit required
    • Initial certification required


    As of June 1, 2020, Oklahoma is in phase three of a three-phased approach to open back up Oklahoma’s economy. 

    Resources and Requirements for Filming:

    Incentive Program Highlights:

    The Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program offers 35-37% cashback on qualifying Oklahoma expenditures. 

    • $8 million rolling cap per fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) 
    • Program renewed through 2027
    • Minimum production budget of $50,000
    • Minimum in state spend of $25,000
    • Film and television projects required to include a screen credit to the state
    • CPA review required 


    Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group, in partnership with the Tennessee Entertainment Commission, released new Tennessee Pledge guidelines on July 13, 2020 with safety measures for media production. The new guidelines address needs unique to the film, TV and music industry like filming on location, working with cast and crew, equipment, transportation and more.

    Resources and Requirements for Filming:

    Incentive Program Highlights:

    •  25% cash rebate, 5% uplift for resident labor working on a scripted TV series
    • No per project cap
    • $200,000 minimum spend for features and pilots
    • $500,000 minimum spend per episode for scripted TV series
    • Loan outs required to register in the state
    • Screen credit required
    • Third-party CPA audit required

    Considering where to shoot your next production? 

    Explore our suite of intuitive, web-based production incentive tools – including an interactive map, comparison tool, and incentives calculator – to easily search, compare, and calculate production incentives on any device.

    For tax incentive inquiries, contact Michele Miller, GreenSlate's Director of Accounting Services.

    This information in this communication is general in nature, and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice rendered by GreenSlate, LLC. The reader should contact his or her attorney, CPA, or tax professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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