Production Incentives for Film and TV - Glossary

Production Incentives Glossary

What’s the difference between a credit and a rebate? What is refundable vs transferable? Find out in our handy glossary below.

Certified Tax Credit: A credit that has been approved by the state for transfer or sale to investors. Often requires a local CPA audit.

Film Commission: Quasi-governmental, non-profit, public organizations that attract motion media production crews (for movies, TV, commercials, web series, etc.) to shoot on location in their respective localities, and offer support so that productions can accomplish their work smoothly.

Grant: A direct payment to a production company by the government of a particular locale, for a specific project. Unlike tax credits, grants require no tax liability, so they are easy to use for productions coming from outside the state to shoot on a temporary basis.

Loan-Out Company (or just Loan-Out): A personal service company that provides or “loans” the services of an actor or key crew person, usually set up by the actor or crew member.

Minimum Spend: Amount that must be spent in the locality by the production in order to qualify for the incentive. These can vary greatly from state to state.

Rebate: A check issued to the production company by the state, city or local government. Grants are a kind of rebate, but not all rebates are grants.

Refundable: Applies only to tax credits. If a tax credit is refundable, it means the production does not need to have actual state tax liability for the “credit” to be issued. When a tax credit is refundable, it acts more like a rebate, although a state tax return must be filed before the refund is issued.

Resident Buyer: For states with transferable tax credits, resident buyers are local taxpayers who purchase tax credits from producers and brokers to use against their own state tax liability.

Transferable Credit: A tax credit that can be sold or brokered to another company that has tax liability in the given state. Can be used by out-of-town production companies that have no tax liability, and thus no use for the tax credit. If a credit is transferred, it is usually sold at a discount to a resident buyer.