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Post New York Alliance Announces Improvements to Empire State Film and Television Tax Incentive


The Post New York Alliance (PNYA), an association of film and television postproduction facilities, labor unions and professionals operating in the city and state of New York, announced that the PNYA-spearheaded Empire State Film Postproduction Tax Credit – which was signed into law by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2012 – will see significant amendments and extensions as part of the Governor’s 2013-2014 budget for New York State.

The changes include an $18 million increase in the annual funds allocated specifically to the postproduction incentive, a five-year extension of the incentive program to the year 2019, and more attractive qualifying standards for film projects being shot or completed in New York. All of the amendments will apply to current and future applications to the incentive program, effective once the budget is signed into law.

“The Governor’s vision for the post industry in New York promises to further solidify an already burgeoning industry,” said Yana Collins Lehman, co-founder and executive board member at PNYA. “The tax credit program has already been attracting new productions to New York, which means more investment in the state and more jobs for New Yorkers. By extending the tax incentive program until 2019, Governor Cuomo has committed to creating and nurturing greater opportunities for postproduction professionals throughout New York State.”

Championed by Governor Cuomo’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development, the tax credit was spearheaded by PNYA and co-sponsored by New York Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and State Senator John DeFrancisco. The credit encourages film and television productions shooting anywhere in the United States or around the world to do their postproduction in New York. Any project willing to commit 75 percent of its postproduction costs to New York City is eligible for a fully-refundable tax credit of 30 percent of those costs. The credit increases to 35 percent for postproduction work performed in upstate New York, (north of the MTA line).

The Empire State Production Tax Credit previously allocated $7 million of the program’s $420 million budget for postproduction credits, and was set to run through 2014. Under the terms of the Governor’s new budget, the annual allocation will be increased to $25 million for eligible postproduction services beginning in 2015, and will be extended to 2019. The overall budget of the production tax credit program will remain fixed at $420 million.

In addition to allocating a larger portion of funds to the post-only incentive program and extending the program for five years, the new budget stipulates more favorable qualification terms for film and television projects thinking of shooting or posting in New York.

While prospective applicants must still spend 75 percent of their project’s total postproduction budget in New York in order to qualify for the post-only tax credit, the new budget stipulates a new and separate threshold of the lesser of $3 million or 20 percent of the total visual effects and animation spend in New York to qualify. The lower threshold makes it easier for films with larger visual effects and animation budgets to qualify for the program. In addition, the post-only incentive now applies to post services on animated features and TV programs.

The Governor’s 2013 budget also removes the 75 percent post-spend threshold for productions shooting in the city or state. Productions that qualify for an Empire State Film Production Tax Credit are now entitled to the 30 percent tax credit on any and all postproduction services completed in the state.

An additional 10 percent labor credit for production and post now also applies to the following counties: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Cortland, Delaware, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.

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