Most Georgia residents have noticed that the state has become a major destination for the film and entertainment industry over the last several years. Known as the “Hollywood of the South,” Atlanta has become a hub for films and TV series, including The Walking Dead, The Avengers and The Hunger Games. This has only grown with the more recent additions of Pinewood Studios and Tyler Perry Studios, and is due, in no small part, to legislation enacted in 2005 allowing a Georgia film tax credit for companies with qualified production expenditures in film, TV, music, video animation and game development. While the increase in production has fared well for the state’s economy and businesses, it is also beneficial for its residents, as they can also take advantage of the film tax credit.
How Can an Individual Benefit from the Georgia Film Tax Credit?
The scope of the film tax incentive was broadened in 2008, allowing film and entertainment companies to sell or transfer their Georgia film tax credits. The broadening of this legislation permits a Georgia corporate, fiduciary or individual taxpayer to purchase these credits to offset their Georgia income tax liability.
On average, $1 of Georgia Film Tax credit can be purchased for $0.87 to $0.90. Taxpayers have the ability to purchase these credits retroactively for up to three years; however, the purchase price can vary depending on the timing of the purchase and the tax year in which the credit will be applied. Due to increased demand, Bennett Thrasher anticipates these credits will become more difficult to obtain over the next few years. In fact, new laws taking effect in 2021 will limit the carryforward of the film tax credits from five years to three years and instill new audit requirements for production companies seeking to claim the film tax credit.
Georgia Film Tax Credits Explained
Georgia film tax credits are treated similarly to state tax withholding. They are taken into account before the calculation of interest and/or penalties. If a taxpayer is filing their taxes late, then the purchase of the film tax credits should eliminate any interest and/or penalties. In addition, if a taxpayer owes back taxes due to an audit, then the purchase of these credits should eliminate any interest and/or penalties. The film tax credits can also be used to eliminate any underpayment tax penalties if the taxpayer has not remitted their estimated taxes in a timely manner.
A number of variables come into play when considering the tax benefits of this type of tax credit. The analysis of these credits should be tailored for individual circumstances.