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Applications Open for New Jersey Incentives Program

January 22, 2019

New Jersey comes roaring back to the incentives field this year with one of the most competitive programs on the Eastern seaboard… which is saying a lot, what with heavy hitters like Georgia, New York and Massachusetts in the mix. With the new application just recently published, it’s the perfect time to get in on the potential 30-37% transferable tax credit offering in the Garden State.

The program will inevitably be compared to that of its neighbor on the other side of the Holland Tunnel. In this regard, New Jersey set itself apart by having a different credit type, qualifying labor type and a few nuances that differentiate it from others.

NJ Asbury Park
Asbury Park, New Jersey. Courtesy NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission

One size fits many

With a small minimum spend requirement and no project caps set, New Jersey can welcome all comers, big and small. The program allows for the production either to spend at least $1 million, or spend 60% of their actualized budget in the state in order to qualify. This is welcome news to smaller productions that may not make the $1 million spend but can base themselves in New Jersey for the majority of the shoot.

The state also has the attractive perk of fully incentivizing not only resident labor, but out-of-state crew working in New Jersey as well. While the state naturally has a well-established resident crew base, the years without an incentive program have made the NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission eager to build it back up to previous levels with an infusion of incoming production.

NJ Film Commission logo

The transferable credit is 30% across the board on all the New Jersey spend and labor attached to features, independent productions and scripted TV projects, with an additional 5% bonus for payments made to vendors in certain southern counties. In addition, New Jersey offers incentives specific to reality programming and digital media projects, provided they meet certain criteria.

While transferable credits are not the most liquid, they offer the benefit of not having to put down permanent stakes or wait to file a New Jersey tax return, and our sources predict the credits will go for a relatively high value on the dollar. That said, projects should always budget for a conservative return on a transferable credit, especially as markets can shift over time.

Incentivizing Diversity

One more differentiating element of this program is the Diversity Plan Incentive. While New Jersey is not the first incentive state to build crew and cast diversity tracking into its incentive, it is the first to add an additional percentage amount to the production’s credit for meeting specific diversity goals. An extra 2% on top of the base credit is available for those productions whose crew and cast are made up of at least 15% women and minorities. Other states may follow suit – California, for one, plans to incorporate some new rules and requirements aligned with diversity later this year.

Media Services offers complimentary application assistance to its payroll clients and can answer questions regarding tagging budgets for this or any other state. Clients also receive the benefit of free Showbiz Budgeting software, as well as unlimited incentive state comparisons via our Incentives Calculator.

Need help understanding the New Jersey incentive program, or that of another state? Just get in touch with us here or at 310 471 9381– we’re happy to help.


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