National Entertainment Incentives Consulting & Audit Practice

The landscape of entertainment tax planning and production incentives is growing increasingly complex, with over 35 states offering some form of production incentive, each with ever-changing program guidelines, caps and compliance requirements.  Bennett Thrasher’s Entertainment Incentives Consulting practice helps production companies cut through the complexity, maximize incentives for a given production budget, comply with program requirements including certification and review/audit of qualified expenditures and focus on production.

Our team of experienced professionals understands production accounting and the administration of production incentive programs.  We have performed production expenditure audits and qualified expenditure reviews in association with over $3 billion of production expenditures in multiple states for our national client base, including Georgia, New York, Louisiana, Virginia, District of Columbia, Illinois and West Virginia.

Our services include:

  • Performing audits, agreed upon procedures and other reviews of qualified production expenditures required to claim or transfer production incentives
  • Comparing and analyzing production incentives among two or more states for a given budget
  • Performing budget analyses to determine production incentives in a given state
  • Helping obtain certifications for productions from state film offices
  • Resolving controversies with state film offices and departments of revenue over qualified production expenditures or certification issues
  • Advising state film offices regarding how to implement or outsource reviews of qualified production incentives
  • Outsourcing solutions for clients that wish to outsource a portion of their production incentives department
  • Tax planning for entertainers & professional athletes

Comparative Budget Service Solutions for Entertainment

Budget Analysis

Incentives Forecasting

Working with film tax credit lenders in both the private equity and banking spaces, we analyze film and television budgets to forecast resulting entertainment production incentives in one or more jurisdictions.  Lenders can leverage our substantial experience interpreting and applying complex incentive program statutes, regulations, and administrative guidance across the United States.

Comparative Jurisdiction Analysis

In addition, we can compare projected entertainment incentive benefits resulting from a given budget across multiple jurisdictions to help production companies choose the right location.  In addition to statutory, regulatory and administrative guidance, we can take into account factors such as currency exchange rates in arriving at our final comparative projection of benefits.

Incentive Tracking During Production

We work with production companies and lenders to help track entertainment incentives during principal photography.  This often includes analysis of weekly or monthly cash and production expense reports to make sure projected incentives are tracking as expected and to identify any shortfalls as early as possible.

Incentive Audits and Agreed Upon Procedure Reports

We have performed audits or agreed upon procedure reports in verification of qualified production expenditures for production companies across the United States, including Georgia, New York, Louisiana, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and other jurisdictions.  Our experience spans the gamut from auditing “tent pole” productions for members of the MPAA to representing the smallest independent film and television production companies.

Incentive Compliance and Tax Reporting

We help production companies navigate the complex maze of reporting requirements to claim entertainment incentives in various jurisdictions.  This includes helping to draft and file initial certification applications, final applications for incentives, and post-wrap reporting, including the preparation of tax returns and supporting information to claim tax credits.

Incentive Department Outsourcing

Given recent disruptions in the distribution of entertainment content, many networks and studios are seeking ways to cut costs in their production accounting and finance departments. Outsourcing a portion of these responsibilities to an outside provider can help a company cut costs without sacrificing functionality.  Our experienced team has helped publicly held media and entertainment companies with staff outsourcing engagements.

Film Office Consulting

As evidenced by Georgia’s recent success in growing its entertainment industry from less than a $40 million direct spend in 2007 to more than a $2.3 billion direct spend in 2016, a well-crafted entertainment incentive can create massive economic development benefits for a jurisdiction.  Our team has leveraged its experience with incentive programs across the country to help states craft new incentive programs or modify existing programs.  This includes help with forecasting the fiscal impact of an incentive program, helping to craft program compliance guidelines, including audit or agreed upon reporting procedures for applicants, and working with lobbyists to craft legislative strategies.

Contact A Professional

If you have questions about entertainment tax incentives or tax compliance, please contact Peter Stathopoulos or Jane Klingmeyer by calling 770.396.2200 to schedule a consultation with one of the professionals in our Entertainment Industry Practice.


[1] Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Partners in Progress: Year in Review FY13.”