Texas Production Incentives FAQ
- Is there an application window?
- How do I apply for the Incentive?
- What are the minimum requirements to be accepted into the incentive program?
- What do I need to submit for the audit?
- What is the average turn-around time for the audit process?
- Is your program a grant or a tax credit?
- What if my project applies and is accepted into the program but we push our start date?
- What if we start production but have to stop unexpectedly or go on hiatus?
- Are Independent CPA Audit Reports Required?
- Are labor costs incentivized? What about Above-the-Line?
- What forms of ID can employees use on their Declaration of Texas Residency (DTR) forms?
- How long do I have after production is complete to turn in documentation of spend for the audit?
- Why do I need to submit crew and cast lists as well as call sheets and production reports?
- Are hotel costs and flights for Non-Texas residents eligible for the incentive?
- Can I submit my documentation of spend digitally?
- Are incentive applications subject to Public Information Requests (PIR)?
Is there an application window?
Projects may apply no earlier than 120 days prior to the first day of production and no later than 5 PM, 5 business days prior to the first day of production. A business day is a non-weekend day or state sanctioned holiday, state government holiday schedules may vary from the private sector so please make sure to leave yourself plenty of time when applying.
Also because fund availability may change daily we encourage you to reach out to an Incentives team member as early as possible within your application window to discuss the status of funds.
How do I apply for the Incentive?
First, review the program requirements. Next, submit an inquiry using the Incentives Inquiry Form with the project’s basic information, including estimated Texas spend and tentative production dates. When your form is received, a member of the incentives team will contact you regarding your project inquiry. If your project meets the program qualifications, they will send you a link to the online incentive application. To apply to the incentive, you must complete an online application and submit a budget of your estimated Texas spend as well as a content document.
What are the minimum requirements to be accepted into the incentive program?
Please see the breakdown of the basic threshold requirements on the incentive page here.
What do I need to submit for the audit?
Please refer to our program guidelines for a detailed list of all required documentation of Texas spending. If your production spent money in Texas and is claiming it for the incentive you must have documentation to back it up. We do not accept single vendor submissions.
In addition to your documentation of spend you will need to create and submit Excel worksheets detailing what you are claiming for the incentive. Please use the worksheet templates. Even if you import information from your accounting module into Excel you must format your worksheets like the templates. Improperly formatted worksheets will be returned to the applicant for revisions and this will delay the audit process.
What is the average turn-around time for the audit process?
Turn-around time for the audit depends upon several factors: the size of the queue at the time you submit your project, the size of your project, and how well your project documentation is organized according to the program guidelines. The larger the queue, the larger the project, and the less organized your documents are, the longer the audit process may take. Our incentives team will gladly talk you through any questions you may have regarding the organization of your submission and offer tips to make submissions go smoothly.
Is your program a grant or a tax credit?
The Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive program (TMIIIP) is a grant program. Texas does not have a state income tax whereas other states that do levy state income tax offer tax credits. Tax credits are based on a company’s tax liability in the state in which they are filming, and some of these credits can only be converted to cash by paying an exchange rate fee. As a grant program, if TMIIIP applicants meet all the threshold requirements and their project completes the audit review then a check will be cut directly to the applicant for the eligible grant amount with no fees or exchange rates.
What if my project applies and is accepted into the program but we push our start date?
We understand that a lot of scheduling changes can happen at the last minute during production. If you are accepted into the incentive program we ask that you keep us informed of any schedule changes or pushes in production as soon as possible. If your project pushes indefinitely or for more than 60 days past the start date under which you applied you will be asked to withdraw your application and reapply when you have a confirmed start of production.
What if we start production but have to stop unexpectedly or go on hiatus?
Putting a project briefly on hold or going on hiatus due to a holiday, crew/cast injury or illness, or other unforeseen circumstances will not affect the status of your incentive application as long as you submit a revised completion date to the Incentive Program as soon as you know about the delay. However, if your project gets put on hold indefinitely and no completion date is imminent then you will be asked to withdraw from the program and will not be eligible to reapply. Please contact the Incentive Program Manager immediately to discuss your application if this happens to your production, there may be other options for your project.
Are Independent CPA Audit Reports Required?
For projects applying after March 27, 2017, a CPA audit opinion is no longer required.
For projects that have applied before March 27, 2017:
Projects expecting $300,000.00 or more in grant payments must provide an outside CPA audit opinion letter in addition to their documentation of spend. The CPA audit opinion must be determined according to the program rules and guidelines. The CPA providing the opinion must be registered with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy to perform work in Texas. The Audit Opinion fees are eligible for the incentive if performed by a Texas accounting firm.
Are labor costs incentivized? What about Above-the-Line?
Labor costs, including Above-the-Line labor are eligible for verifiable Texas Residents only. Labor payments are capped at $1,000,000.00 per person per project. To be considered a Texas Resident employees, cast and crew must complete a valid Declaration of Texas Residency (DTR) form. For more information on residency requirements please refer to our detailed incentive page here.
What forms of ID can employees use on their Declaration of Texas Residency (DTR) forms?
To prove Texas residency employees (crew and cast members including paid extras) must provide one of three forms of ID. A valid Texas driver’s license or ID card, a current Texas Voter Registration ID, or an ID card from a Texas College or University. All forms of ID must have been valid 120 days prior to the first day of production. In the rare event that an employee does not have any of the forms of ID listed above but they own property in the state of Texas, they may provide a HUD statement or property tax bill listing the property address and the employee’s name to prove residency. The HUD statement or property tax bill must have been issued at least 120 days prior to the first day of production.
Military personnel hired by the production must complete a DTR form but may present their military ID’s and a copy of their orders noting a posting to a Texas base to be considered valid Texas residents.
How long do I have after production is complete to turn in documentation of spend for the audit?
Projects have 60 days after their final Texas expenditure to turn in their documentation for the audit. Applicants completing post production in Texas may include those costs in their submission. As a result submission would occur 60 days after the last post production expenditure. Productions worried about meeting the 60 day deadline should call the Incentive Department to discuss submission options.
Why do I need to submit crew and cast lists as well as call sheets and production reports?
The 70% residency requirements are based on a head count of Texans hired to work in Texas. In order to generate the residency percentage we must first determine the entire number of employees paid for work in Texas on your project, whether they are valid Texas residents or not. Only employees who provide a valid DTR will be counted in the actual percentage. We need crew and cast lists as well as call sheets and production reports to verify the total number of crew and cast members.
In addition to verifying head count we use call sheets and production reports to verify locations and to ensure that projects meet the required percentages for the underutilized/economically distressed bonus
Are hotel costs and flights for Non-Texas residents eligible for the incentive?
If your production paid for hotel costs and flights for an employee who was not a Texas resident, those costs will only be eligible if the hotel is in Texas and the flight was on a Texas airline (American, Southwest, US Air, or Air Tran). Labor and fringes for Non-Texas residents are ineligible.
Can I submit my documentation of spend digitally?
Yes. Please make sure that your digital files are organized and easily accessible. There are detailed directions on how to submit digitally in our program guidelines. Digital submissions may be submitted via the Office of the Governor’s Secure File Transfer Site.
To submit via the file transfer site you must call and request an invitation from an incentives team member. TMIIIP documentation cannot be accepted via any other file sharing program except the Office of the Governor’s Site.
Are incentive applications subject to Public Information Requests (PIR)?
The Office of the Governor, Texas Film Commission, as a state agency, must comply with the Texas Public Information Act. In the event that a public information request related to your application is submitted to the Office of the Governor, applicants will be promptly notified of the request, instructed to take all appropriate actions with the Attorney General of Texas to prevent release of confidential information, including asserting exemptions under the Act, and provided with full information and opportunity to participate in the process.