State House Panel Approves Changes to Film Tax Credit

Dave Williams

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024

Capitol Beat is a nonprofit news service operated by the Georgia Press Educational Foundation that provides coverage of state government to newspapers throughout Georgia. For more information visit

Legislation putting guardrails around Georgia’s popular film tax credit cleared a state House subcommittee Tuesday.

House Bill 1180, which a House Ways and Means subcommittee approved unanimously, would require film production companies to meet at least four of 10 criteria to qualify for an additional 10% income tax credit on top of the 20% base credit the General Assembly enacted in 2008.

The film tax credit generated $8.55 billion in economic impact in fiscal 2022, according to a study released late last year. At the same time, the credit costs Georgia taxpayers about $1 billion a year in lost tax revenue, making it the most expensive tax incentive on the books in the Peach State.

As introduced earlier this month, the bill listed nine criteria to qualify for the higher tax credit, including requirements that at least half of the crew and vendors working on a film in Georgia be Georgia residents.

A 10th criterion added to the list would allow filmmakers to qualify for the tax credit if they use Georgia-based music productions in their films.

“It’s important to show our support for Georgia musicians and hopefully get them into films … on a more regular basis,” said Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, the bill’s chief sponsor.

Jill Helton of Pigmental Studios, which has a 117-acre film studio under development in St. Marys, said a provision in the bill capping the total amount of sales or transfers of credits within a calendar year at 2.5% of the governor’s revenue estimate for that year would make it nearly impossible for the growing number of independent filmmakers to operate in Georgia.

“Independent filmmakers will simply leave and conduct their business in other states,” she said.

But Carpenter said a change in the original version of the bill that would restore the amount a production company would have to spend on a single production to qualify for the tax credit to $500,000 would benefit smaller film productions, including independent films. The original measure had proposed doubling that threshold to $1 million.

“It’s not going to kill independent films,” Carpenter said.

Subcommittee Chairman Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe, said the impact of the proposed changes to the film tax credit wouldn’t affect film producers immediately because the legislation wouldn’t take effect until 2026.

The bill now moves to the full House Ways and Means Committee.