Applications for funding must be submitted electronically to the Virginia Film Office at least 30 days prior to production along with a copy of the script and budget for the project. Applications cannot be considered after principal photography has started.
The Virginia Film Office will review each application to ensure that it is complete and all necessary documentation is included. The VFO will contact the production company if any information is missing. The application will not be considered for funding until everything is complete.
Completed applications will be reviewed by the VFO to determine the estimated amount of qualified expenses, the total cost of production and other information necessary to determine both eligibility and level of credit allocation. All funding allocations will be at the discretion of the VFO and these decisions will be final.
After receipt of the Letter of Intent, the production company will enter into a memorandum of understanding with the VFO outlining the requirements the production company must meet in order to receive the grant or credits. The memorandum will include at minimum:
- the estimated amount of money to be spent in Virginia;
- the estimated number of Virginia resident hires;
- the timeline for completing production in Virginia; and
- the maximum amount of tax credits or grant money to be allocated to the production company.
By signing the memorandum of understanding, the motion picture production company forfeits any right to contest the amount of assigned to it and agrees that while the amount provided upon the completion of the motion picture production may be lower than the maximum amount listed on the memorandum of understanding based on the amount of qualifying expenses, it may not be more.
Production companies seeking funding must receive a Letter of Intent from the VFO before making or incurring any qualified production expenditures in order for those expenditures to be eligible for the credit.
Requirements During Production
The applicant must at all times keep proper books of record and accounts in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles consistently applied, with the books, records, or papers related to the accredited production in the custody or control of the taxpayer open for reasonable inspection and audits, including, without limitation, the making of copies of the books, records, or papers, and the inspection or appraisal of any of the assets of the applicant or the accredited production. This must include all vendor receipts for which the production is applying for funding consideration.
If physical production goes over one calendar year, the production company must file a report with the VFO that verifies the progress of the production. The report shall include a detailed account of amounts spent in the Commonwealth at the current stage of production and provide proof that it is moving forward.
Upon completion of a qualified production, the applicant must submit to the VFO proof of the amount spent in the Commonwealth and any additional documentation required by the VFO. Applications shall be submitted with a form approved by the VFO and signed by an independent certified public accountant licensed by the Commonwealth who states that the applicant is eligible for the amount claimed. Although a full audit by the certified public accountant is not required, a financial review is necessary.
Upon approval, the VFO shall issue a Certification Letter to the applicant indicating the amount of the approved grant amount or the amount of the tax credit that the taxpayer may claim on its Virginia income tax return. The Certification Letter will include the name of the production, a description of the production, and a detailed account of the qualifying expenses with respect to which the credit is being claimed.