For the very first time, Massachusetts is identifying by name the recipients of state film tax credits, allowing the public to see which businesses taxpayers are subsidizing.
The report identifies the recipients of approximately $170 million in tax credits issued or awarded in 2011. The three biggest tax credit programs were those for historic rehabilitation (nearly $50 million), brownfields remediation ($47 million), and film and commercial production ($37.9 million).
As expected, the producers of major feature films pocketed a large amount of the film tax credits handed out last year to lure movies and commercials to Massachusetts. The top three recipients were Columbia Pictures, Thunder Buddies LLC, and Number Productions Inc., which together accounted for 69% of the total film tax credits issued.
The fourth-largest recipient of film tax credits was more of a surprise. WGBH, Boston’s public broadcasting TV station, received $4.2 million, or 11.2% of the total, for such shows as American Experience, Between the Lions,Nova, Design Squad, Frontline, and High School Quiz Show.
Some of the film tax credit money went to support WGBH productions that would have been shot in Massachusetts anyway, but station officials say the tax credits allowed them to produce more shows in Massachusetts and do more filming inside the state.
Hopkins, VP of productions, said the availability of film tax credits prompted the station to do more filming in Massachusetts for shows and allowed officials to launch High School Quiz Show. “Without the tax credits, we wouldn’t be able to do that show,” she said.
At least 45 commercials and public service announcements were produced in Massachusetts, triggering more than $1.9 million in film tax credits. Three production companies produced 31 of the commercials for credits worth $1.5 million.
The film tax credit offers companies shooting movies, TV shows, and commercials in Massachusetts a credit equal to 25 percent of whatever they spend inside the state. The credit is very attractive because it can be converted into cash by selling it back to the state or to a third party, which can use the credit to reduce its tax liability.
For help converting your film tax credit into cash, contact The Cherrytree Group.