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  • Acts
  • 2005
  • Chapter 158 AN ACT PROVIDING INCENTIVES TO THE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 6 of chapter 62 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:-

(l)(1) As used in this subsection the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

"Motion picture", a feature-length film, video, 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 any 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. Said term includes 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.

(2) 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 20 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 $250,000 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.

(3) 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 paragraph (2), where the motion picture is also eligible for a credit pursuant to paragraph (2) and either Massachusetts production expenses exceed 50 per cent of the total production expenses for a motion picture or at least 50 per cent of the total principal photography days of the film take place in the commonwealth.

(4) The tax credit shall be taken against the taxes imposed under this chapter and 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 taxpayer to any of the 5 subsequent taxable years.

(5)(i) All or any portion of tax credits issued in accordance with this subsection may be transferred, sold or assigned to other film taxpayers with tax liabilities under this chapter or chapter 63. Any tax credit that is transferred, sold or assigned and taken against taxes imposed by this chapter or said chapter 63 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.

(ii) An owner or transferee 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 or transferee shall provide to the commissioner 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.

(6) The total amount of tax credits provided under this subsection in connection with any one motion picture production shall not exceed $7,000,000.

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

SECTION 2. Chapter 63 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 38S the following section:-

Section 38T. (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 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 20 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 $250,000 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.

(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 50 per cent of the total production expenses for a motion picture or at least 50 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 not be refundable. 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 total amount of tax credits provided under this subsection in connection with any one motion picture production shall not exceed $7,000,000.

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

SECTION 3. Section 1 of chapter 64H of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of "Mobile telecommunications service" the following 2 definitions:-

"Motion picture", a feature-length film, a video, 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, or a production containing obscene material or performances.

"Motion picture production company", a company including any 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.

SECTION 4. Section 6 of said chapter 64H, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-

(ww) Sales of tangible personal property to a qualifying motion picture production company or to an accredited film school student for the production expenses related to a school film project.

For the purposes of this paragraph a qualifying motion picture production company must expend in the aggregate not less than $250,000 within the commonwealth in connection with the filming or production of one or more motion pictures in the commonwealth within any consecutive 12 month period and have the approval of the secretary of economic development and the commissioner.

Any motion picture production company that intends to film all, or parts of, a motion picture or television program in the commonwealth and qualify for the exemption provided by this paragraph shall provide an estimate of total expenditures to be made in the commonwealth in connection with the filming or production of such motion picture or television program and shall designate a member or representative of the motion picture production company as a primary liaison with the commissioner for the purpose of facilitating the proper reporting of expenditures and other information as required by the commissioner. Said estimate of expenditures shall be filed prior to the commencement of filming in the commonwealth. Any qualifying motion picture production company that has been approved which fails to expend $250,000 within a consecutive 12 month period shall be liable for the sales taxes that would have been paid had the approval not been granted. The sales taxes shall be considered due as of the date that taxable expenditures were made.

The commissioner shall promulgate rules for the implementation of this paragraph.

SECTION 5. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, upon application by a motion picture production company, the secretary of economic development shall make a determination regarding the inclusion of the name "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" in the credits of any motion picture filmed or produced in the commonwealth.

SECTION 6. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, except for extraordinary activities, a department or agency of the commonwealth shall not charge a fee or other cost, except the actual costs incurred by the affected department or agency, for the use of state-owned property for the purposes of making motion pictures. For the purposes of this section, the term "extraordinary" shall mean an activity outside the normal course of business of an agency or department of the commonwealth, including, but not limited to, demolition or construction projects, or any combination thereof.

SECTION 7. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the secretary of economic development shall conduct an economic impact study of motion picture production and development in the commonwealth and shall issue a report together with any recommendations no later than December 31, 2011; provided, however, that the secretary shall file annually by December 31 an economic report of all motion picture production activity in the commonwealth that receives a tax credit certificate pursuant to this act. The secretary shall file annually said report by December 31, with the clerk of the senate and house of representatives, the house and senate committees on ways and means and with the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies.

SECTION 8. The department of revenue shall, issue a report detailing the amount of tax credit certificates issued to taxpayers pursuant to this act, the cost to the commonwealth of the tax credits, and the number of jobs created in Massachusetts as a result of this act and shall file the report by December 31, 2011 with the clerk of the senate and the house of representatives, the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on revenue and the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies. The department shall create the forms necessary to comply with the reporting requirements of this section.

SECTION 9. This act shall be effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2006 and before January 1, 2013, but credits allowed pursuant to this act may be carried forward pursuant to sections 1 and 2 after January 1, 2013.

Approved November 23, 2005.