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After declining in the 1990s (laubacher, 2006), the Massachusetts film and television industry reached a nadir with the closing of the Massachusetts film office in 2002. To revitalize this once-thriving local creative industry, in 2005 the state legislature passed a tax incentive plan that provided a bankable tax credit for qualifying motion picture and television productions in Massachusetts. As updated in 2007, the Massachusetts film tax credit (FTC) provides a refundable/transferrable tax credit for 25% of qualifying wage and non-wage production expenses and a sales tax exemption for qualifying in-state spending. Massachusetts joined, at the maximum, 43 other states in offering some sort of a tax incentive for film production companies. As many states are now facing severe budgetary challenges, these credits are being reexamined and in some cases suspended or even rescinded. There have been several hearings recently at the Massachusetts statehouse related to the credit and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue released a study in 2009 that carefully assessed its annual costs and benefits in terms of tax revenues (DOR, 2009). However, at the bottom of much of the debate is whether or not Massachusetts has a niche in film production and whether the credit has helped to create or expand this niche.


Published in MassBenchmarks, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 21-31:


University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute



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