EDA board broadens television and film tax credit program

Changes will expand initiative to more productions, create jobs through development of studios

In a continuing effort to position the state as a leader in the quickly growing and evolving television and film industry, the board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved an amendment Wednesday that will greatly increase many of the tax credits available for those in the sector to $100 million.

The amendments approved by the board address other statutory changes such as increases to the amount of tax credits available annually under the program, to $100 million per state fiscal year for applicants not considered film-lease partners or studio partners, $100 million per state fiscal year for studio partners, $100 million per state fiscal year for film-lease partners and $30 million per fiscal year for digital media projects.

Additionally, the proposed new rules include other statutory additions, such as an increase in the diversity bonus from 2% to 4% to encourage the hiring of minority, local, on-screen talent, which will help ensure opportunities are accessible to qualified New Jersey residents from all backgrounds.

Statutory changes now allow the program to run through 2034 and increased the credit allowed for film projects from 30% to 35% of certain qualified film production expenses. The digital media tax credit was also increased from 20% to 30%. The rules establish annual reporting requirements for certain projects and allow for the EDA to recapture or reduce the tax credit amounts for certain projects.

The board-approved proposed rules will be published for public comment, after which the board will consider final adoption of the rules.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the changes will have impact.

“New Jersey has positioned itself as a compelling destination for the film and digital media industry under Gov. (Phil) Murphy’s leadership, as we continue to attract big-studio productions to our state,” he said. “Our diversity of locations means you can film mountains, cities, beaches and farms all in the same day, while our best-in-class tax incentive program and unmatched talent pool make New Jersey among the most cost-effective places in the nation to shoot a film. That’s a powerful combination, and the film industry has begun to take notice.”

The New Jersey Film and Digital Media Tax Credit was established by Murphy in 2018 and later expanded through a series of legislative changes, most notably in 2021 as part of the Economic Recovery Act of 2020. The program aims to help strengthen the state’s economy by attracting film, television and digital media production, as well as the associated economic benefit that is generated through these productions, such as permanent job creation, decent living wages, increased tourism activity and spending, infrastructure and community investment in production facilities, support for local small businesses and vendors, and the expected surge in value from media exposure.

Since its creation, over 68 productions have been approved for tax credits based on expenditures of $766 million into the state’s economy. These tax incentives have helped to attract major film and television productions to New Jersey, such as “Joker,” “West Side Story,” “The Many Saints of Newark” and CBS’ “The Equalizer.”