Film production facilities looking to speed up their access to a pool of tax credits designed to encourage the development of large, long-term film production facilities in the state are now eligible to apply for the Studio Partner designation, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority said.
Under the New Jersey Film and Digital Media Tax Credit Program, which was expanded and enhanced by the Economic Recovery Act of 2020, two additional and separate allocations were established to support projects led by Studio Partners and Film-Lease Partners.
The applicant must be a production company that has site control of a production facility that is at least 250,000 square feet, for at least 10 years.
Additionally, prior to approval, the production facility site would need to have at least preliminary site plan approval, an executed redevelopment agreement or an adopted redevelopment plan that contemplates the construction of the production facility and, following designation approval, be able to provide temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy for the facility within 36 months.
Only three Studio Partner designations are available, which will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants.
In addition to a separate $100 million pool of incentives, the Studio Partner designation will allow a production company to capture additional above-the-line salaries and wages as part of its tax credit award calculation, a key feature of the plan.
Film-lease partners must be production companies that have at least a Letter of Intent or other site control documentation for a production facility of at least 50,000 square feet for a term of at least five years. Additionally, the applicant shall commit to spending, on an annual average basis, $50 million in qualified film production expenses over the applicant’s commitment period.
Studio Partners and Film-Lease Partners would first apply to the EDA to be designated and then submit subsequent applications for each film project produced in New Jersey thereafter. There are no restrictions on the number of production companies that can receive the Film-Lease Partner designation.
The tax credit award percentage for Studio and Film-Lease Partners is calculated the same as the legacy program for film productions; however, Studio and Film-Lease Partners benefit from a separate approval queue and separate annual allocation of $100 million for each designation category.