Production Incentives

The DGA has played a leading role over the past thirteen years to secure legislation at the federal, state, and local level to help keep film and television production in the United States. More information on the Guild’s support of state efforts can be found below.

In 2004, at the federal level, the DGA achieved a big victory with the enactment of Section 181 of the Internal Revenue Code which provides an incentive for domestic film and television productions. In 2008, this provision was significantly modified to cover a wider range of domestic productions.

The revised legislation expanded the program by applying the tax incentive to the first $15 million of all films and television productions in the United States, not just productions whose total costs do not exceed a $15 million cap, as in the original legislation. (If the costs are incurred in economically depressed areas in the United States, the incentive can be applied to the first $20 million.)

On January 2, 2013, the extension of Section 181 was included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Section 181 can now be applied retroactively to productions commencing after December 31, 2011 – and will expire December 31, 2013. (For more information, click on Section 181 on the right side of this webpage for a brochure with additional details and FAQs.)

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The DGA actively worked in many of the 45 states where production incentives now exist. The DGA continues to work in coalitions and with other partners in numerous states to promote the benefits of film and television production.

In California, the Guild works closely with the Governor's office, the California Legislature, and the California Film Commission. The 2009 passage of a five-year, $500 million California tax credit for film and television production was the culmination of a decade-long effort by the DGA and others in the California entertainment community to help keep California competitive. In September 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law bills AB 2026 & SB 1197, which created a two-year extension of the incentive, ensuring that tax credits will be available through 2015. As of July 2013, this successful program has been responsible for generating $4.75 billion in direct aggregate spending statewide by 269 films and TV series, including more than $1.48 billion in wages to below the line crew members. DGA members and staff have testified on behalf of the incentive program at informational state hearings in Sacramento and many members have reached out to their local elected officials in support of this program. The Guild will continue to work, together with its partners in the California Film & Television Production Alliance, to ensure that California remains competitive. (Additional information can be found on the California Film Commission’s website at:

In New York, the DGA worked closely with its partners to ensure the renewal of the hugely successful New York tax incentive. In April 2013, legislation was enhanced and extended for the state incentive program, allocating $420 million/year through 2019. (Additional information can be found on the New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development website:

With the incentives that many states and local governments have enacted, filmmakers now have greater options to keep television and film productions in the United States. (Further Information on individual state incentives can be found at the Association of Film Commissioners International site at this link:

Kathy Garmezy - Associate Executive Director for Government and International Affairs
Libby Buchanan - Assistant to Kathy Garmezy 310-289-5358
Film & TV Production in California

Why a strong production incentive matters.

Section 181

Information and FAQs on using this federal film and television production tax incentive.

Film Commissions

A resource list with website links to film commission information across the map.

An Economic Report on the California Film and TV Tax Credit Program