New law adds incentives for Indiana Media Productions

(Photo IIB/Alex Brown)

A bill signed into law last week by Gov. Eric Holcomb includes a provision that took years to craft. Senate Registration Bill 361 was drafted to modernize the toolkit used by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and includes tax incentives for film and media productions in the state. Eligible productions, which could include film, television, music or digital media, could receive tax credits of up to 30% of their production expenses.

In an interview with Inside Indiana Business, State Representative Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne) spoke about the importance of having a 30% tax credit.

“That puts us among the top four states in the country when it comes to welcoming companies that want to shoot movies here in Indiana. It’s like New Mexico, Georgia, North Carolina and Kentucky,” Morris said.

Previous bills to create an incentive program for film and media productions have failed in the past. Morris said he worked to convince his colleagues at the Statehouse that this type of program only made sense for the state.

“One thing that really inspired a number of members of the General Assembly was when I asked them why we were offering film courses and media courses in our universities when 98% of these students left the great state of Indiana and went to work in another state,” he said. “I really grabbed them on that.”

Greg Sorvig, art director of Heartland Film in Indianapolis, says having these incentives in place is the missing piece many people in the film industry have been hoping for.

“We host Oscar-qualifying film festivals here in Indiana…and we host independent, hyper-local filmmakers all the way to huge Oscar-nominated titles with major studios. People come to Indiana and they’re impressed; they want to do business here. But, I was told face to face, ‘I can cross a bridge to Louisville. I can go to Ohio and I want to do things here. I can not. It doesn’t make financial sense.

Sorvig says setting up film incentives is a matter of economic development, but could bring additional benefits such as increased tourism.

Tony Samuel, president of Samuel Solutions Group, helped with the movie incentive effort and said that while the program has been approved, there is still work to be done to get everything up and running.

“It can take a bit of time to get the structure of the program in place, not just the application process, but to figure out what makes a production eligible for the tax credit, what expenses can claim the tax credit, who won’t be, do you hire a film curator, what kind of staff?” Samuel said. “We’re already starting discussions with the IEDC. learn more.

SEA 361 was high on Governor Holcomb’s agenda and allows IEDC to expand its ability to attract new business to the state. It provides a cap of $300 million on the amount of tax credits that IEDC can provide per year and also establishes innovation development districts in which the state can collect property, income and sales tax for economic development purposes.

The new law will come into force on July 1.

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