The Evolving State of Georgia’s Entertainment Tax Credit Cap

The Evolving State of Georgia’s Entertainment Tax Credit Cap

The latest version of the bill regarding Georgia’s film and television production tax credit has undergone significant changes as it moves from the House to the Senate. One of the most notable alterations is the adjustment of the annual limit on tax credit transfers, which has been reduced to 2.3% of the state budget, amounting to around $830 million based on current levels. This is a decrease from the previous 2.5% limit set by the House, which equated to $900 million. Despite this reduction, the cap now includes major exemptions that have the potential to render it almost pointless.

The Senate Finance Committee has included exemptions in the bill that significantly diminish the impact of the cap. Productions filmed at the largest Georgia studios fall outside the scope of the cap limitations. To qualify for exemption, a studio must have either made an investment of $100 million between 2023 and 2027 or have a minimum stage space footprint of 1.5 million square feet. This means that popular studios like Trilith, which is home to Marvel and other big franchises, are not bound by the cap. Only smaller sound stages located in rural areas outside of the Atlanta metro region are subject to the cap restrictions.

The revisions to the bill have resulted in the exclusion of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of eligible tax credits from the cap. This has led some lawmakers to suggest that the cap may no longer serve its intended purpose. The fate of the bill now rests with the Rules Committee, which must schedule it for review by Monday to ensure its progression. If it fails to make it to the committee in time, the bill faces the risk of being discarded as the legislative session nears its conclusion. The back and forth process between the House and the Senate for approval must be completed by next Thursday.

While the revised bill appears to be more favorable to film and TV production than its predecessor, there remains a possibility that no bill will be implemented, which could actually benefit the industry. Georgia has become a prominent film and television production hub, ranking among the top three globally. The state’s generous tax credit regime has attracted numerous productions, bolstering the economy and creating job opportunities. Despite the stricter auditing process introduced a few years ago, claiming tax credits continues to cost the state millions annually.

House Bill 1180 was introduced in an effort to provide more predictability to the annual impact of tax credits. The proposed cap specifically targets transferable credits, which are commonly sold by Hollywood studios and other non-Georgia entities. These credits are then utilized by production companies to offset their tax liabilities, contributing significantly to the economic growth of the state. While the bill does allow for credits exceeding the cap in one year to be carried forward to the next, critics argue that it introduces an element of uncertainty.

The evolving landscape of Georgia’s entertainment tax credit cap underscores the delicate balance between fostering a thriving industry and managing state resources effectively. As the bill progresses through the legislative process, stakeholders in the film and television sector closely monitor developments to assess the potential impact on their operations. Ultimately, the outcome of this legislative measure will shape the future trajectory of Georgia’s entertainment industry and its contribution to the state’s economy.


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