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Johnson, Moriarty, Greenwald Bill Aimed at Incentivizing Media Production in New Jersey Clears Legislature

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Gordon Johnson, Paul Moriarty and Lou Greenwald entitled the ‘Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act’ received final legislative approval Thursday by the full Assembly, 59-18. It will now go to the Governor for further consideration.

The bill (A-1038) would provide a credit against the corporation business tax and gross income tax for certain expenses incurred for the production of certain films and digital media content in New Jersey commencing on or after July 1, 2018 but before July 1, 2023.

The bill originally received final legislative approval in April and sent to the governor, but it was conditionally vetoed. The bill approved today concurs with the governor’s recommendations. Among the recommendations approved by the Assembly is one that offers a two percent tax credit for qualified film production expenses and digital media content production expenses to productions that make significant efforts to increase diversity in hiring.

“Not only will this bring more jobs and revenue to New Jersey through the increased number of films that will be shot here, but crew members will then eat, sleep, and do countless other things in our great state,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “This will help Main Street first and foremost.”

After the approval of an application sent to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury, taxpayers would be allowed a credit amount equal to 30 percent of the qualified film production expenses and 20 percent of the qualified digital media content production expenses.

“There are so many parts of our beautiful state which could be utilized for film, and so many of our residents who could contribute to these films,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “What this bill does is put the infrastructure in place to realize these possibilities.”

If the expenses are incurred for services performed and/or personal property used or consumed in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, or Salem County, the allowable credit would increase to 35 percent and 25 percent respectively.

“With the invention of the world’s first movie camera by our very own, Thomas Edison, New Jersey is known as the birthplace of the film industry, yet we’ve seen a decline in film and television productions over the last several years,” said Majority Leader Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “This is a strategic investment that will not only make New Jersey a leader in this industry once more, but it aims to create long-term jobs throughout our state and will stimulate our economy.”

In order to claim the tax credit for qualified film production expenses, the following conditions must be met:

· at least 60 percent of the total film production expenses, exclusive of post-production costs are incurred in New Jersey, or the qualified production expenses exceed $1,000,000

· the film includes marketing materials promoting the state of New Jersey in the film and include an appropriate logo at the end of the credits denoting that the piece was filmed in New Jersey

· principal photography of the film commences within 180 days from the date of the application for the tax credit, or 150 days from the approval of the application

In order to claim the tax credit for qualified digital media content production expenses, the following conditions must be met:

· at least $2,000,000 of the total digital media content production expenses are incurred in New Jersey

· at least 50 percent of the qualified digital media content production expenses are for wages and salaries paid to full-time or full-time equivalent employees in New Jersey

Both applicants for the film production and digital media content tax credits must submit a tax credit verification report prepared by an independent certified public accountant licensed in New Jersey and comply with the withholding requirements provided for payments to loan out companies and independent contractors.

There is a limit of $75 million in tax credits that may be accumulated during each year of the five-year duration of the bill for film production expenses and $10 million for qualified digital media content.

The bill was advanced by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 5 and approved by the full Assembly April 12, 59-14.