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California Motion Picture and Television Production Credit

On February 20, 2009, SB X3 15 was chaptered, creating tax credits based on expenditures incurred for film and television productions, which will be allowable to offset California income and franchise tax liabilities for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2011.

To claim the credit, qualified taxpayers must first apply to the California Film Commission (CFC). CFC issues credit certificates (certificate) to qualified taxpayers who claim the credit in the taxable year CFC issues the certificate. Under limited circumstances, qualified taxpayers may assign or sell their credit.

Frequently asked questions

Independent films

Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 17053.85(c)(1) and 23685(c)(3)(A) allow qualified taxpayers to sell a credit attributable to an independent film to an unrelated party.

To qualify as an independent film, the film and producing company must meet the following criteria:

  • The film must have a minimum budget of one million dollars ($1,000,000) and a maximum budget of ten million dollars ($10,000,000).
  • The film must be produced by a company that is not publicly traded.
  • Publicly traded companies cannot directly or indirectly own more than 25 percent of the company producing the film.

The qualified taxpayer selling the credit shall report the following information to the Franchise Tax Board prior to the sale of the credit:

  • The social security number or taxpayer identification number of the unrelated party purchasing the credit.
  • The amount of the credit.
  • The amount of consideration the qualified taxpayer will receive for sale of the credit.

Contact information

If you have questions regarding the California Motion Picture and Television Production Credit, contact Kristen Magers at:

More information

To learn more about applying for and claiming the tax credits, refer to the following: