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Wages and Withholding: US Payroll for UK, EU Productions

Original publish date: April 6, 2023

Recently, our sales and software team hosted Wages and Withholding: U.S. Production Payroll, a webinar catered to producers and production companies in the UK and EU who are interested in working in the U.S. While there are many opportunities for foreign producers in the U.S., it’s important to understand the legal, financial, and cultural differences that can impact the success of a production.

During the webinar, we covered several of the things that can help producers better prepare for a U.S. shoot, including information on visas and work permits, tax incentives, and navigating cultural differences.

Whether you’re a seasoned producer or just starting out in the industry, we provided valuable insights and practical tips to help you succeed in the U.S. market. These are a few key takeaways from the webinar, exploring the challenges and opportunities that can be expected when working in the U.S. 


The classification of workers as independent contractors in the U.S. is becoming increasingly narrow, with employer control and provision of tools being key factors in determining employment status. In most cases, it’s necessary to hire workers as W-2 employees and comply with relevant regulations.

This can have significant implications as production companies will need to provide benefits and withhold taxes for their employees. Additionally, they’ll have to ensure that they comply with local labor laws. For more information about worker classification from the IRS, go here.


When filming in the U.S., it’s important to account for a range of complex and location-dependent budget and overhead costs, including production insurance, administrative fees, employer taxes, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and union fringes.

These expenses can vary significantly depending on the filming location, so it’s crucial to work with an experienced payroll company that can guide you through the process. We offer the ability to estimate overall labor costs and facilitate payment through relationships with guilds, governments, and film offices. 

Employer of record payroll

Paying U.S. workers can be a challenging task for foreign companies that lack the necessary business structure and compliance measures. As an employer of record, Media Services offers a solution that helps foreign productions avoid having to register an LLC or corporation in each location or state. We also provide payroll services, tax administration, workers’ compensation, and more, to simplify the domestic payment process.

Planning a production in the U.S.?

If you’re planning to film a movie or series in the U.S., it’s imperative that your production has a trusted partner who can navigate the regional nuances and government regulations of the American entertainment industry.

Media Services understands the complexities of domestic production and provides comprehensive payroll services, tax administration, workers’ compensation, and more, that help ensure compliance and simplify the payment process.

Additionally, our state-of-the-art Showbiz software can digitize your back office, making life easier and more efficient for your crew. By working with Media Services, foreign producers can help assure that their U.S. projects maximize their potential.  

For more, watch the full recording of our webinar Wages and Withholding: U.S. Production Payroll.

We’re here to help 

Want to learn more? Reach out to our experts to learn more about how we can help you navigate the ins and outs of filming in the U.S. 

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