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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 38X: Credit against taxes imposed on persons filming motion picture for employment of persons within commonwealth in connection with filming or production

Section 38X. (a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:—

''Commissioner'', the commissioner of revenue.

''Motion picture'', a feature-length film, a video, a digital media project, a television series defined as a season not to exceed 27 episodes, or a commercial made in the commonwealth, in whole or in part, for theatrical or television viewing or as a television pilot. The term '' motion picture'' shall not include a production featuring news, current events, weather and financial market reports, talk show, game show, sporting events, awards show or other gala event, a production whose sole purpose is fundraising, a long-form production that primarily markets a product or service, a production containing obscene material or performances.

''Motion picture production company'', a company including its subsidiaries engaged in the business of producing motion pictures, videos, television series, or commercials intended for a theatrical release or for television viewing. The term ''motion picture production company'' shall not mean or include any company which is more than 25 per cent owned, affiliated, or controlled, by any company or person which is in default on a loan made by the commonwealth or a loan guaranteed by the commonwealth.

''Massachusetts production expense'', a production expense for the motion picture clearly and demonstrably incurred in the commonwealth.

''Principal photography'', the phase of production during which the motion picture is actually filmed. The term shall not include preproduction or postproduction.

''Production expense'' or ''production cost'', preproduction, production and postproduction expenditures directly incurred in the production of a motion picture. The term shall include wages and salaries paid to individuals employed in the production of the motion picture; the costs of set construction and operation, editing and related services, photography, sound synchronization, lighting, wardrobe, make-up and accessories; film processing, transfer, sound mixing, special and visual effects; music; location fees and the cost of purchase or rental of facilities and equipment or any other production expense as may be determined by the department of revenue to be an eligible production expense. The term shall not include costs incurred in marketing or advertising a motion picture, any costs related to the transfer of tax credits or any amounts paid to persons or businesses as a result of their participation in profits from the exploitation of the production.

''Secretary'', the secretary of economic development.

(b) A taxpayer engaged in the making of a motion picture shall be allowed a credit against the taxes imposed by this chapter for the employment of persons within the commonwealth in connection with the filming or production of 1 or more motion pictures in the commonwealth within any consecutive 12 month period. The credit shall be equal to 25 per cent of the total aggregate payroll paid by a motion picture production company that constitutes Massachusetts source income, when total production costs incurred in the commonwealth equal or exceed $50,000 during the taxable year. For purposes of this subsection, the term ''total aggregate payroll'' shall not include the salary of any employee whose salary is equal to or greater than $1,000,000.

[Subsection (c) effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2022. See 2021, 24, Sec. 147.]

(c) A taxpayer shall be allowed an additional credit against the taxes imposed by this chapter equal to 25 per cent of all Massachusetts production expenses, not including the payroll expenses used to claim a credit pursuant to subsection (b), where the motion picture is also eligible for a credit pursuant to subsection (b) and either Massachusetts production expenses exceed 75 per cent of the total production expenses for a motion picture or at least 75 per cent of the total principal photography days of the film take place in the commonwealth.

(d) The tax credit shall be taken against the taxes imposed under this chapter and shall, at the election of the taxpayer, be refundable to the extent provided for in section 32E. Any amount of the tax credit that exceeds the tax due for a taxable year may be carried forward by the taxpayer to any of the 5 subsequent taxable years.

(e)(1) All or any portion of tax credits issued in accordance with the provisions of this section may be transferred, sold or assigned to other taxpayers with tax liabilities under this chapter or chapter 62. Any tax credit that is transferred, sold or assigned and taken against taxes imposed by this chapter or said chapter 62 shall not be refundable. Any amount of the tax credit that exceeds the tax due for a taxable year may be carried forward by the transferee, buyer or assignee to any of the 5 subsequent taxable years from which a certificate is initially issued by the department of revenue.

(2) An owner, transferee or assignee desiring to make a transfer, sale or assignment shall submit to the commissioner a statement which describes the amount of tax credit for which the transfer, sale or assignment of tax credit is eligible. The owner, transferee or assignee shall provide to the commissioner such information as the commissioner may require for the proper allocation of the credit. The commissioner shall provide to the taxpayer a certificate of eligibility to transfer, sell or assign the tax credits. The commissioner shall not issue a certificate to a taxpayer that has an outstanding tax obligation with the commonwealth in connection with any motion picture for any prior taxable year. A tax credit shall not be transferred, sold or assigned without a certificate.

(f) The commissioner, in consultation with the secretary, shall promulgate regulations necessary for the administration of this subsection.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, aggregate salary and compensation amounts including all per diems, housing and other allowances, paid to, or for the services of, an individual shall not qualify for the credit under this section or for the credit under subsection (l) of section 6 of chapter 62 to the extent that such amounts exceed $2,000,000.