Understanding the Illinois Film Tax Credit: How to Cut Production Costs

Illinois is one of the best states in the nation financially for film production. Did you know that if you create a film within Illinois state lines, you may qualify for a 30% tax cut? It’s all in efforts to boost the local state economy and showcase what our beautiful state can offer filmmakers around the world.

Here at Eleven04, we can strike filming in Illinois even more affordable with our competitive pricing for rental equipment. To find out more, click here.

Here we’ll let you in on everything you need to know about the Illinois film industry tax credits in 2022:

History of State Tax Cuts in the Film Industry

Before we dive into how much money you can save by producing your film in Illinois, we’ll need to discuss the history of film tax credits.

Tax incentives were developed by state governments to combat the rising trend of runaway productions. Before our current tax credit programs, a significant amount of TV and filmmakers would take their business to Canada and film there. This was because of Canada’s generous movie production tax incentive program that was implemented in 1997. Popular productions that were being produced for American audiences were reaping the financial benefits of this tax credit system in Canada.

In the early 2000s, the U.S. economy started to feel serious economic strain from this trend. So in 2001, Louisiana implemented a film tax incentive program which exhibited immense success. Other states caught on to this success and by 2009, 44 of the U.S. states had implemented film tax incentives.

Illinois Film Tax Credits

Illinois is one of many states that have followed Louisiana’s example. If you choose to film your production in Illinois, you can receive significant tax benefits and save tens of thousands of dollars. Filmmakers could save 30-45% from this hefty tax credit.

The tax credit states that any filmmaker that spends a minimum of $50,000 on a production under 30 minutes and a minimum of $100,000 on productions over 30 minutes can receive a 30% transferable tax credit on any funds spent within Illinois state lines. In addition to these benefits, filmmakers can receive an additional 15% bonus if they hire labor from impoverished areas.

Key Points from Illinois Film Tax Incentives:

  • Compensation caps out at $100,000 per crew and cast member
  • Filmmakers must spend at least $50,000 on films under 30 minutes
  • Filmmakers must spend at least $100,000 on films over 30 minutes
  • Incentives come in the form of a 30% transferable tax credit on all Illinois spending
  • Only spending within Illinois border counts toward the film tax credit
  • If the budget in spent on crew and cast, the crew and cast need to be an Illinois resident
  • Illinois film tax credit doesn’t have a cap, as long as you meet the minimum required spending, all your qualifying spending will receive tax credit.

Current State of the Illinois Film Industry

A variety of filmmakers have benefited from these tax incentives and we expect the trend to continue. Illinois now ranks in the top 5 states for film production in the U.S. In 2021, the Illinois film and television industry generated $630 million and 13,800 jobs.

This economic gain has boosted Illinois to number one in the region for film and television production. Filmmakers have flocked here not only because of these benefits but also because of the diverse geography of the area.

A few productions that have come to Illinois for filmmaking recently are:

  • Chicago Fire (2012 – present)
  • Shameless (2011 – 2021)
  • The Batman (2022)
  • Candyman (2021)

For additional information on the Illinois film services tax credit visit this page.

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Written by:
Richard Song

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