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Texas Provides Money to Help Film Production

Promoting an active film industry is a great avenue to spur a region’s economic development.   Austin is known for its independent films and Houston’s WorldFest is one of the three original international film festivals in North America.  However, the film industry in Texas still has room to grow.  The Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program was implemented to increase employment opportunities for Texas industry professionals, tourism and economic activity in Texas cities and the overall Texas economy.

Historically, Texas has been at a major disadvantage when it comes to providing monetary incentives to attract film producers because there are no state taxes from which the state can create a tax incentive plan.   The great State of Texas did not let that stop them.  Instead of tax incentives like those in Louisiana and New Mexico, Texas provides cash grants to qualifying projects based on the amount of money spent within the state.  The State of Texas has set aside $95 million for the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program over the next two years.


So how does this work?  Under Texas Administrative Code, Title 13, Part 8, Chapter 121, in order for a film production to qualify for Texas incentives, it must meet the following criteria:

  •   $250,000 in Texas spending.
  •   60% of shooting days completed in Texas.
  •   70% of paid crew must be Texas residents.
  •   70% of paid cast (including extras) must be Texas residents.

Once these qualifications are met, you have the option of receiving a refund on 8%-25% of the money spent on wages or 5%-15% on the total money spent (percentages vary based on amount spent.)  In addition, if you shoot in “underutilized areas” in Austin or Dallas, you can receive even more of a refund.

If you are interested in utilizing the incentive program, you should carefully read what qualifies as eligible and ineligible expenditures provided on the Texas Film Commission‘s website.

  •   An application package must be submitted online;
  •   An itemized budget detailing only estimated Texas expenditures must be submitted via email; and
  •   A complete script must be submitted by email.


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This article was written by Adam Litwin.  He is an actor, writer, producer and attorney with Litwin Law Group, PLLC, which is a general practice law firm that focuses on entertainment law in Dallas, Texas.   

 

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