BREAKING: Illinois Film Production Tax Credit Expanded; ‘Gamechanger’ for IL & Chicago Industry

It’s time to celebrate a massive win for the Illinois production industry. Effective July 1, 2022, the Illinois Film Production Tax Credit program will officially be expanded, implementing the new provisions provided in the Illinois Production+ legislation championed by the Illinois Production Alliance.

The IPA legislative team along with their coalition partners, The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and The Motion Picture Association worked til dawn in advocacy of the passage of this industry gamechanging legislation.

“The Illinois film production program has been proven to be one of the most highly successful public/private partnership for jobs and economic development in our state,” IPA Executive Director Christine Dudley shared with SCREEN earlier today. “In the past two years, over 16 states such as New Jersey, New Mexico, and most recently Indiana have either established or expanded film incentive programs, accelerating the competition for market share.”

Illinois Production Alliance Executive Director Christine Dudley

“This update of our current program, coupled with our established workforce, vendors, actors, and diverse assets was necessary for even greater growth and to achieve our first annual $1 billion in production spending. We consider this legislation a ‘gamechanger’ that will result in new high paying jobs, and increase the supply chains that will support and grow businesses all of which resulting in increased state revenue.”

So what makes this legislation such a gamechanger for the Illinois film and television production industry? Let’s get to the specifics of this critical development…

The legislation provides a modest expansion to allow for a limited number of non-resident wages to qualify for the credit. These qualifying non-resident wages are limited to Director, Writer, Director of Photography, Production Designer, Costume Designer, Production Accountant, VFX Supervisor, Editor, Composer, Actor.

More specifically: For qualified productions spending $25,000,000 or less, no more than two non-resident actors qualify. For qualified productions spending more than $25,000,000, no more than four non-resident actors qualify.

The new legislation also expands the program to a $500,000 cap on qualified resident and non-resident wages. The current law qualifies up to $100,000 for resident wages only (For a television series, qualifying non-resident wages are limited to the entire season).

Colette Gabriel of Keslow Camera echoes Dudley’s enthusiasm on the expansion of the program. “This increase to our tax incentive is a huge win for Illinois film production,” Gabriel said to SCREEN earlier today. “It opens to door for more features filming here. Without this, some productions have found it more cost effective to film in other states. I’m excited to see this drive more projects here!”

New Pathways for Women and Minorities

Finally, the legislation creates the Illinois Production Workforce Development Fund for the purpose of providing grants to qualified training programs with an emphasis on developing employment pathways for minorities and women. This program is to be administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development and the Illinois Film Office.

The fund will be financed through a tax credit transfer fee: 2.5% of transferred credit amount eligible for non-resident wages, and an additional .25% of the total amount of the transferred credit which is not calculated on non-resident wages.

State Representative Margaret Croke of the 12th District declared, “In the past decade, Illinois’ film and television industry has grown to be a nationwide competitor, and that is largely thanks to the Illinois Film Production Services Tax Credit. This highly-effective incentive has brought millions in direct spending, as well as numerous job opportunities, to our communities. Thanks to the good work of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Production Alliance, the new expanded tax credit will meet the needs of a competitive market, and help Illinois remain a high-profile hub of film and television.”

To view the specific language in its entirety you can click right here, starting on page 23.

More details and info to come from the Illinois Production Alliance and right here at SCREEN. You can also click right here to subscribe to the SCREEN Magazine weekly email newsletter.

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