From diverse landscapes to a solid crew base and low cost of living, Ohio offers a vast range of opportunities for your next production. The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit provides a refundable, transferable tax credit of 30 percent on production cast and crew wages plus other eligible in-state spending.
All applications are received electronically. Applications can be filed under “Incentives” tab, above. Please note: you may work on your application but it is not filed until you have clicked on “Submit”. Once submitted, applications are time stamped and evaluated on a first come, first serve basis (subject to statutory priority) when tax credits are available.
For questions about filing an application, please contact Troy Patton at Troy.Patton@development.ohio.gov
The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit was created in 2009 to encourage and develop a strong film industry in Ohio. The program provides a refundable, transferable tax credit to be taken against the financial institutions tax, the personal income tax or the commercial activities tax. The credit is based on eligible production expenditures (EPE’s) in Ohio as defined in Ohio Revised Code 122.85 (A)(4).
An eligible motion picture company includes: individuals and corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies or other forms of business associations producing a motion picture. The company must be registered to do business in the State of Ohio with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
Applications may be submitted for the following project types: feature-length films; documentaries, long-form specials, miniseries, series and interstitial television programming, interactive web sites, sound recordings, videos, music videos, interactive television commercials, any format of digital media, and any trailer, pilot, video teaser or demo created primarily to stimulate the sale, marketing, promoting or exploitation of future investment in either a product or a motion picture by any means and media in any digital media format, film or videotape.
A television series may submit one application for all episodes or apply for a separate credit for each episode in the series.
A tax credit may be issued only for an eligible production that has EPE’s of at least $300,000.
An application may not be submitted for the following project types: any television program created primarily as news, weather, or financial market reports, a production featuring current events or sporting events, an 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 in-house corporate advertising or other similar productions, a production for purposes of political advocacy, or any production for which records are required to be maintained under 18 U.S.C. 2257 with respect to sexually explicit content.
To apply, an applicant must register the production company with the state of Ohio by clicking this link.
Upon approval and certification by the Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) that the project proposed by the applicant is a Tax Credit Eligible Production, the applicant shall receive an invoice for a non-refundable application fee in an amount equal to one-half of one percent (.5%) of the Estimated Value of the Credit as calculated in Section 5 of the application up to a maximum of $10,000.
The fee shall be due and payable within 45 days of receipt of the invoice and notice of the Director’s certification of the project. The application fee shall be paid by check made out to ”Treasurer, State of Ohio” and sent to the Ohio Development Services Agency, Ohio Film Office, 77 South High Street, 29th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215.
An applicant may request changes to an application during the review process. Substantive changes may result in reevaluation of an application.
Applications will be considered in the order in which they are received. All applications will be reviewed for completeness, compliance with the law (Ohio revised code 122.85 and Ohio Admin code 122:21) and these guidelines. The Ohio Film Office may consider the following criteria in its review of applications:
The Ohio Film Office will endeavor to respond to applications within 30 days after receipt of the required information.
If an application for a tax credit is approved, the Ohio Film Office will prepare and send (e-mail) an Award Letter to the applicant. The Award Letter will specify the maximum amount of eligible tax credits. In addition, the applicant's obligations will be included, consisting of, but not limited to, the following:
Within 90 days after the Director’s certification of the project as a Tax Credit Eligible Production, and at any time thereafter upon request of the Director, the company must submit to the Director sufficient evidence of reviewable progress.
If the company fails to present sufficient evidence of reviewable progress, the Director of ODSA may rescind the certification.
Production expenditures can be made outside of Ohio, however any production related expenditures not identified below should be discussed with the Ohio Film Office prior to submitting the application. EPEs include:
In order to receive the tax credit, the eligible production must be complete and a report by an independent certified public accountant engaged at the company’s expense must be submitted to the Director. The report must be submitted and certified by the accountant for accuracy.
Upon acceptance of the accountant’s report, the Director will issue a tax credit certificate based on actual eligible expenses up to the amount of the award letter. The tax credit is calculated as 30 (thirty) percent of all EPEs.
Ownership of all or part of the credit may be transferred to a third party. A transfer form must be completed and submitted by the original applicant to notify the Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency of the transfer of an Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit. This form must be provided to the Director within thirty (30) days of the transfer. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 122.85 (H), a transferee may not claim a credit until the transferor company files the form.
The production company (transferor) must include a copy of the Motion Picture Tax Credit Certificate with the completed form and mail it to:
Mail the signed copy of your application packet to:
Ohio Development Services Agency
c/o Ohio Film Office, 29th floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Or email to:
For productions that receive film tax credits, the state of Ohio will provide an official logo. The Ohio Development Services Agency reserves the right to exclude the state’s name in the credits of any tax credit eligible production.
All information submitted in connection with this application is considered public information and will be released in response to a public records request except to the extent such material or data consists of trade secrets, as defined in 1333.61 of the Ohio Revised Code, or commercial or financial information pursuant to 122.36 of the Ohio Revised Code. In addition, the Director intends to use portions of the information received through the application process that is not a trade secret for the purpose of issuing public reports. Unless authorized or required by law, the Director will not use information that is protected by Ohio law as a trade secret.
Upon notice, the Tax Commissioner or his or her representative may inspect and examine the records documenting the EPEs for which a tax credit may be claimed.
This Program is administered by the Ohio Film Office. Questions regarding the program may be directed to the Ohio Film Office by telephone at (614) 644-5156 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tax credits are designed to replace tax liability. Therefore, to receive a tax credit, the production company must file an Ohio tax return when filming is completed. The allowable credit can be taken against the financial institutions tax, the personal income tax or the commercial activities tax.
The tax credit is available to eligible production companies or entities that are "in the business of producing qualified productions." The term "production" means an entire motion picture or media project. Therefore, the term "production company" refers to the entity that bears the overall responsibility for making (or producing) the project as a whole. Companies that are vendors to a production company DO NOT qualify for the credit.
The entire amount of your spending in Ohio must be at least $300,000 to be eligible for tax credits.
The program provides a refundable, transferable tax credit certificate to be taken against the financial institutions tax, the personal income tax or the commercial activities tax. The credit is based on eligible production expenditures (EPEs) in Ohio (see below).
Upon completion of filming, the production entity must submit documentation of qualifying expenditures and any other documentation required by the Ohio Film Office. Once this process has been completed, the Ohio Film Office will issue an Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit Certificate stating the final amount of tax credit the production is eligible to receive.
Yes, as long as expenditures were made after June 3, 2009. However, the program is administered on a first come, first served basis.
You can do both, but the original signed copy must be mailed. Some applicants will scan and e-mail to get it in faster.
Upon approval and certification by the Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency that the project is a tax credit eligible production, the applicant shall receive an invoice for a non-refundable application fee in an amount equal to one-half of one percent (.5%) of the estimated value of the tax credit as calculated in Section 5 of the application (up to a maximum of $10,000). The fee shall be due and payable within 45 days of receipt of the invoice and notice of the Director's certification of the project. The application fee shall be paid by check or money order made out to Treasurer, State of Ohio, and sent to: Ohio Development Services Agency Office of Revenue Management, P.O. Box 16565, Columbus, Ohio 43216-6565. The Director shall rescind the tax credit award unless the application fee has been received within the 45 days as required
To maintain eligibility, within 90 days of receiving your Motion Picture Tax Credit Award Letter, the applicant must submit a "Film Tax Credit 90 Day Progress Reporting Form" to the Ohio Film Office. This form will be sent with the Award Letter. The report shall include, but is not limited to, reviewable progress on the project. During review of the report, the Ohio Film Office may request additional information, conduct a site visit, or discuss the report with the applicant. The applicant will have 15 calendar days to supply any additional information requested by the Ohio Film Office. The applicant's failure to report or failure to provide evidence of sufficient reviewable progress may result in rescission of the Ohio Film Office's certification of the production as a tax credit-eligible production.
In most cases the Ohio Film Office will respond within 30 business days.
Yes. Wages paid to above the line personnel such as producers, directors, writers, and actors are "direct production expenditures" eligible for the 30 percent credit amount. Wages paid to below the line personnel such as technical crew members are also qualified.
No. Only services performed entirely within Ohio qualify for the tax credit.
No. The payroll processing business would qualify only if the payroll services were entirely performed in Ohio.
No. The nature of the transaction remains substantially that of payroll processing because the true employer of the employees whose payroll is being processed is the film production company.
Cast and crew wages means pretax wages paid to the Ohio-resident individuals employed as cast or crew of the tax credit-eligible production, including the contract amount of loan-out talent and any other employment contracts. For purposes of Ohio law, wages also includes the dollar value of employer contributions to Ohio resident pension, health and welfare benefits, holiday, and vacation to the extent included in wages.
Yes. The law specifically provides credit for this type of expense as long as the company is "Ohio- based."
Insurance qualifies if it is associated with one of the eligible production expenditure categories (i.e. insurance on equipment).
Yes, provided that: 1) The financing is obtained from a bank or other lender with a brick and mortar storefront and at least one full-time employee and one year of physical presence in Ohio; 2) All loan services are performed in Ohio; and 3) An appropriate rate of interest is charged to the production company. If so, does capitalized interest qualify? No. Only current expenditures qualify for the tax credit and under capitalized interest payment is deferred to a future date. Does interest that continues to accrue post-Ohio activity qualify? Only interest actually paid prior to the request for certification will qualify.
Production companies should send a revised application to the Ohio Film Office with a revised budget, revised total, and Ohio expenditures, and identify the new credit they are seeking. The application should be signed by an authorized representative.
Approval of additional credits is not automatic and subject to availability. The state will respond with a letter authorizing additional credits if the request is approved.
Expenditures made prior to written approval by the state will not qualify for the tax credit.
No. They are generally not subject to taxation as the law requires.
The independent certified public accountant report due to the Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency under division (D) of section 122.85 of the Ohio Revised Code shall certify to the Director that the applicant's reported costs of a tax credit- eligible production are eligible production expenditures as defined in section 122.85 of the Ohio Revised Code. In addition, the independent certified public accountant shall:
(1) Complete the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit CPA Report that was emailed to the production company;
(2) Certify to the Director that the loan-out talent contractors are registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to do business in Ohio;
(3) Review and certify to the Director all contract and expense items greater than or equal to $10,000, and review and certify to the Director no less than 50 percent of the contracts and expense items less than $10,000;
(4) Certify to the Director that all eligible production expenditures for the tax credit eligible production were incurred during the period of July 1, 2009 to the production complete date; and
(5) Certify to the Director that the goods and services claimed as eligible production expenditures were performed or consumed in Ohio:
(A) The costs of the certified public accountant's report shall not qualify as an eligible production expenditure.
(B) Within 60 days of receipt of the independent certified public accountant's report, the Director shall review and provide a written notice to the applicant accepting the report or identifying any deficiencies in the report, and if the report is accepted, identifying any disallowance of expenditures claimed and providing the reason for any disallowance. If the report does not satisfy the reporting requirements, the applicant shall have 30 days after the notice date to cause the independent certified public accountant to remedy the identified deficiencies. Also, within 30 days of receipt of the Director's notice of any disallowed expenditure, the applicant may request reconsideration and provide additional documentation in support of the report. The Director shall consider all relevant information submitted and respond in writing. Upon reconsideration, the Director's determination shall be final.
(C) If the applicant fails to provide a report of an independent certified public accountant within the time allowed by this rule and complying with the requirements, no tax credit certificate will be issued.