Overview of State Incentives

The state of Wisconsin offers a number of incentives to accredited filmmakers, broadcast producers and video game producers.

Film Production Service Tax Credits

Wisconsin offers a 25% Production Services Tax Credit for accredited productions. This covers salary, wages or labor-related contract payments, including actors, paid by the producer in any given year. (Any above the line salary or wages paid to an individual who was paid more than $250,000 is not eligible.) The total amount of the credit claimed in a given year shall not exceed an amount equal to the first $20,000 of salary, wages or labor contract.

Also, 25% of all production expenditures paid by the producer in the taxable year to produce an accredited production.  ”Production expenditures” means expenditures that are incurred in Wisconsin and directly used to produce an accredited production.

Accredited Production must:

  • be a film, video, broadcast advertisement or television production, for which the aggregate salary and wages included in the cost of the production for the period ending 12 months after the month in which the principal filming or taping of the production begins exceeds $50,000; or
  • be an electronic game for which the aggregate salary and wages included in the cost of production for the period ending 36 months after the month in which the principal programming, filming or taping of the production begins exceeds $100,000.

Accredited Productions do not include news, current events or public programming, talk shows, sports events, pornography, or corporate, institutional and industrial videos.

In determining whether to accredit a production, the Department of Tourism will consider whether the production will:

  • Occur in Wisconsin without the tax credits;
  • Enhance economic development in Wisconsin;
  • Enhance the potential for increasing the film, video or electronic game industry in Wisconsin;
  • Or hurt the reputation of the State of Wisconsin.

Film Production Company Investment Tax Credits

Producers can earn Film Production Company Investment Tax Credits for the following:

  • 15% of the purchase price of depreciable, tangible personal property and items, property and goods if the sale of the tangible personal property, items, property or goods is sourced to the state;
  • 15% of the amount spent to construct, rehabilitate, remodel or repair real property; and
  • 15% of the amount spent to acquire real property, if the property is not previously owned property, and if the claimant acquires the property after December 31, 2008, and the completed project is placed in service after December 31, 2008

At least 50% of the use of the tangible personal property, item, property or goods must be for the claimant’s business as a film production company.

“Physical work” does not include preliminary activities such as planning, designing, securing financing, researching, developing specifications or stabilizing property to prevent deterioration.

“Previously owned property” means real property that the claimant or a related person owned during the two years prior to doing business in Wisconsin as a film production company, and for which the claimant may not deduct a loss from the sale of the property to, or an exchange of the property with, the related person as defined under section 267 of the Internal Revenue Code.

In determining whether to award Film Production Investment Tax Credits to an eligible producer, the Department of Toursim will consider whether the investment will:

  • Occur in Wisconsin without the tax credits;
  • Enhance economic development in Wisconsin; or
  • Enhance the potential for increasing the film, video or electronic game industry in Wisconsin;

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, a claimant must be doing business in the state as a film production company.  ”Film production company” means an entity that exclusively creates accredited productions as defined by the Film Production Services Tax Credit.  Claimants can be either new or existing film production companies.

An application for Film Production Company Investment Tax Credits must be submitted to the Department of Toursim prior to the start of the investment project.

There is a non-refundable application fee of two percent of the budgeted production expenditures or $500, whichever is less. The fee must be submitted with the application.