Kentucky Film Tax Incentive
On February 12, 2015 the Kentucky House of Representatives passed a new bill that would restructure the current Kentucky film tax incentive package offered by the state. In short, the bill would raise the incentive package from 20% of qualified expenditures to 30% and offer an additional 5% incentive for Kentucky resident labor. The bill would also lower the minimum spend threshold from $500,000 to $250,000.
The bill would make Kentucky one of the most competitive states in the nation for film and television productions. The bill passed the House 96-0 and will now make its way to a senate committee.
Details on the proposed update to the Kentucky film tax incentive
Attached below is the bill summary:
- Lowering of the minimum qualifying expenditures to allow more film companies to be eligible for the incentives;
- Creation of a provision that will give small Kentucky based filmmakers an incentive to produce motion picture films and documentaries that tell the story of our Commonwealth;
- Increasing the percentage of the refundable credit against the Kentucky income tax to a level more competitive with surrounding states.
- Creation of an “enhanced incentive county” program that gives an even higher refundable tax credit for films shot in those counties;
- An increase in the film company’s payroll expenditure ceiling to allow the tax credit to apply to more of the salaries of the directors, producers and big name stars that could come to our Commonwealth to make films; and
- Requiring screen credits to recognize Kentucky film incentives and the Unbridled Spirit logo.
I’m just a local filmmaker, why should I care?
Tax incentives have become one of the primary factors that influence where producers and/or studio systems take their television or film production. The original Kentucky film tax incentive (passed in 2009) was competitive when passed, but has since become outdated. Because of this outdated incentive, Kentucky has lost countless productions to neighboring states – even if the projects were based in Kentucky. Does Justified (shot in WV) or The Hatfields and McCoys (shot in Romania) ring a bell?
A more competitive tax incentive would mean increased production in the state as outside film producers and studio systems begin to see Kentucky as a more viable and cost-saving location to base their productions. Additionally, this new Kentucky film tax incentive will allow local producers to leverage the cost-saving benefits of Kentucky for future projects and pitch meetings.
Ok. How can I help?
The bill (HB340) will be moving through the senate committee process very soon. If you (e.g. filmmakers, producers, concerned citizens) would like to increase the likelihood of the bill passing, you may reach out to the senate member representing your district and advocate for the new incentive package.
To find your senator, please visit the Kentucky Senate directory and find the senator associated with your district. Click on their name and use their email contact form to send them a short note saying you support HB340.