The movie industry is big business. Each year, blockbuster movies make millions of dollars for production companies and film stars in the United States, but that is not where the economic benefits end. 

Large scale film productions, especially those filmed on location, can create much-needed jobs. Local residents can continue to reap the benefits long after a film is released thanks to increased tourist revenue and exposure.

State governments are aware of this. Many are now offering incentives to entice producers to film in their state. Students in the Master of Taxation graduate program at Villanova University study ways to use tax incentives to draw productions. Making a movie can be an expensive business, so even a small tax incentive can go a long way.


Here are a few attractive locations.


With the majesty of the Great Lakes right on its doorstep, the rugged topography of the Driftless Area nestled in its northwest corner, and iconic features like the historic city of Chicago and the ageless Mississippi River within its borders, Illinois has always been a great place to make a movie.

But the state got a lot more attractive for movie producers in 2008 when the Illinois Film Production Tax Credit Act was passed. This act provides tax credits of 30% on the total production dollars spent within the state, as well as a further 30% on salaries of workers earning less than $100,000 each. This salary tax credit rises to 45% when the workers live in an area designated as “economically disadvantaged”.


The southern state of Georgia already has a rich cinematic history. The city of Atlanta was the setting for Oscar-winning pictures Gone with the Wind and Driving Miss Daisy while the disturbing horror thriller Deliverance was set in the wild Appalachian Mountain range.

To make the state even more attractive, Georgia offers 20% base transferable tax credits on production spending in excess of $500,000. Producers can also earn a further 10% uplift via the Georgia Entertainment Promotion if they promote Georgia tourism on their website. Unlike Illinois, Georgia’s tax incentives have no sunset clause.

New Mexico

As movie locations go, they don’t come much more appealing than Santa Fé or Chaco Canyon, and you can find both of these locations and more in New Mexico.

Another thing film production companies can find in New Mexico is a 25-30% Refundable Film Production Tax Credit as part of the state’s Film Crew Advancement Program. This program also allows producers to apply for a 50% reimbursement of salaries for up to 1,040 working hours, making the state a very attractive prospect for filmmakers.

The government of New Mexico has recognized the importance of the post-production process in creating jobs, so they also offer a 25% Refundable Tax Credit to production teams who carry out post-production duties within the state. This credit is available even if the movie was shot outside of New Mexico.

Have you worked on a movie production? Do you think such incentives could make a difference? Let us know.

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