The Georgia Senate Finance Committee’s proposed changes to a sweeping tax bill would make film tax credits non-transferable and put an annual cap on the program, a reform that critics of the credits say is necessary, but advocates say would crush Georgia’s booming film and TV industry.
Georgia’s film tax credit program is one of the most generous incentives in the country for movie producers, making the Peach State the third biggest market for film and television production behind California and New York, respectively.
But for several years state audits and economic studies have suggested that the tax credit program, which issued $1.2 billion in credits last year, is a losing proposition for Georgia taxpayers and essentially amounts to a subsidy for Hollywood on the state’s dime.
Unlike nearly every other tax credit program in the state, Georgia has no cap on how much credit is issued per year to filmmakers, and more importantly, unused credits can be bought and sold – or “transferred,” as it is known – to companies or individuals with a Georgia tax bill. The tax credits are used to lower one’s tax liability in a dollar-to-dollar exchange.