Georgia's film tax credit to be reviewed

The Georgia legislature is set to review the robust program ahead of January 2024 convene

By Gabriella Geisinger 9 May 2023

Georgia's film tax credit to be reviewed
Atlanta, Georgia; Cr: Ian Schneider

Georgia's legislature is seeking to change the state's historically robust film tax incentives. 

A press release from the lieutenant governor's office reads: "Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Speaker of the House Jon Burns announce their respective appointees who will work on behalf of the Georgia General Assembly to review [...] all Georgia tax credits, including Georgia's film tax credit. 

"This review is intended to support Georgia businesses while ensuring a significant return on investment for Georgia's taxpayers."

The US state's incentives have long since lured high-profile productions. However, the Atlanta Journal Constitution pointed out: "If the state-subsidized 30% of the cost of manufacturing toilets, Georgia would be the toilet capital of the world. The question is if there are better uses for [the lost tax revenue]."

In 2020 the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts Performance Audit Division released a report that shed doubt on the rebates success for the state. It read: "The impact of the film tax credit on the state's economy has been significantly overstated, leaving decision-makers without accurate information necessary to assess the credit.

"The film tax credit results in significant revenue loss for the state by reducing income tax revenue that would have been paid otherwise."

A Georgia Budget and Policy Institute study found: "88% of companies participating in the program are based outside of Georgia." It also noted: "The film tax credit is not designed to incentivize hiring residents over nonresidents; it provides the same credit regardless of workers' residency. 

"While Georgia residents held most of the jobs (80%) associated with the credit, most wages (53%) were paid to nonresidents."

The study will likely begin meeting later this year, with a number of public hearings before convening in early 2024. 

There is a sentiment that if the new Georgia legislators intend to keep as robust of an incentive program, it will need to be reshaped in a way that benefits residents. 

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