What’s the difference between the governor’s Motion Picture opportunity Fund and the Virginia Motion Picture Tax Credit Fund?
The Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund is a grant program and the Virginia Motion Picture Tax Credit Program is a refundable tax credit program. Both programs use the same criteria for eligibility and use the same application form. Virginia Film Office staff will assist you in making a determination about which program works best for your production.

What’s the difference between a tax credit and a grant?
Tax credits are designed to replace tax liability. Therefore, to receive a tax credit, the production company must file a Virginia tax return when filming is completed. The allowable credit will be used against the taxpayer’s Virginia individual or corporate income tax liability for the taxable year in which physical production was completed. Any of the award money remaining after the taxes are paid will go directly to the production entity. A grant is not subject to any tax liability and filing a Virginia tax return is not required to receive funding. (Although any outstanding tax liability must be paid by the production company.) The tax credit will be paid to the production company approximately 60 days after filing the state tax return.

What’s a certification letter?
Upon completion of filming, the production entity must submit documentation of qualifying Virginia expenditures and any other documentation required by the Virginia Film Office. Once this process has been satisfactorily completed, the Film Office will issue a Certification Letter stating the final amount of funding the production is eligible to receive.

Are there any other incentives for filmmakers?
Virginia has a sales and use tax exemption for filmmakers. It’s easy to use and it exempts many production purchases from the state’s sales tax. Hotel and motel stays of 90 or more consecutive days are also exempt. The Virginia Film Office can help reduce your expenses by working with you to cut your production costs even further.

How big does my production have to be to receive funding?
The entire amount of your spending in Virginia must be at least $250,000 to be eligible for tax credits. There is no minimum limit to the production budget on projects receiving a grant from the Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund.

What kinds of projects can receive tax credits from the Virginia Motion Picture tax credit Fund?
Feature length films, documentaries, long-form specials, television mini-series, episodic television series, commercial advertisements, videos and music videos and interactive television designed to fit a thirty minute or longer time slot.

What kinds of projects can receive a grant from the governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund?
Feature films, documentaries, television series, children’s programs or other television programs designed to fit a thirty-minute or longer time slot.

What about video game production?
In 2013, digital interactive media (video game) production will be eligible to receive tax credits.

Other states base their incentives on a percentage of the budget. What does Virginia do?
Tax credits in Virginia begin at 15 percent of all qualifying expenses, including wages. If the production is shot in an economically distressed area of the state as designated by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the base amount increases to 20 percent. An additional 10-20 percent can be added for the payroll of workers from Virginia, and each first-time film industry employee is eligible for an additional credit of 10 percent.

So it really pays to hire Virginia crew and actors?
Absolutely. Virginia is proud of its exceptional crew, actors and young film professionals. Virginia workers of all kinds qualify for additional funding.

I just found out about the incentive program and I’ve nearly completed filming. Can I still apply?
In all cases, incentive applications must be received and approved before the start of principal photography.

How do I apply?
The application can be found online at FilmVirginia.org. Complete it and either send or deliver it to the Virginia Film Office along with a copy of the script, production budget and proposed production schedule.

When will I know if my request has been approved?
The Virginia Film Office will respond within 30 business days.

What can I do to ensure a successful proposal?
While there are no guarantees that your proposal will receive funding, you will greatly increase your chances of success by carefully reading and understanding the guidelines and rules in the following pages. Virginia Film Office staff members Andrew Edmunds or Dawn Blacksten are also available to answer questions and to help ensure that your proposal meets all necessary requirements. Call 800.854.6233 or email aedmunds@Virginia.org or dblacksten@Virginia.org.

When will I get the money?
In the case of the Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund, a check may be issued within approximately 30 days after all documentation has been received and verified. In the case of tax credits, the check is issued approximately 60 days after a Virginia state tax form has been submitted.


Virginia photography courtesy of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Production photography by Kent Eanes, www.kenteanes.com
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