Big cash incentive for recording film and TV music in New York

Volume 112, No. 10October, 2012

On July 24, Gov. Cuomo announced a major increase in the state’s tax credit for post-production work done in NYC and in New York state, effective immediately. The Post-Production Tax Credit program is designed to give producers whose films were shot outside of the state a powerful financial incentive to do post-production in New York.

The governor said “With this legislation, New York is inviting producers, directors, and editors from across the nation to bring their post-production work right here to the Empire State.” (For the full press release, see

The tax credit increases to 30 percent (up from 10 percent) for post-production done in NYC and to 35 percent (also up from 10 percent) for post-production in facilities upstate, from a pool of $7 million allocated each year through 2014.

This brings the post-production rebate up to and beyond the same level as the very successful tax credit program for film production.

State post-production tax credits have been at 10 percent since 2010. Underutilized from the beginning, the 20 to 25 percent increase to the program is expected to be a strong incentive to post-production here in NYC and throughout the state.

Locally, theatrical film scoring has been trending upward for 802 members and is up over 100 percent during the past two years. The increased incentives passed in July can only have a positive effect for AFM musicians.

The specifics of the program are detailed and are well explained on the governor’s Film Commission Web site. See However, what follows is a brief summary.

  • The program in effect gives producers 30 to 35 percent cash reimbursement for specific, qualified expenses. The benefit for the state is that more employment means more tax revenue from the income as well as from increased spending by those employed. The state’s revenues far outweigh the monies paid in tax credit rebates to the films’ producers.
  • Qualified music related expenses for the Post-Production Tax Credit include composers, orchestrators, arrangers, copyists, scoring musicians, vocalists, scoring stage, rental, cartage costs and more.
  • Eligible productions are theatrical features, episodic television series, television pilots and presentations, television movies and miniseries. 75 percent of a film’s post-production work must take place in New York and it takes about 12 months for reimbursements to be made.

It’s easy to use the tax credits: The governor’s Film Office administers the program simply and effectively. The number is (212) 803-2330.

This article was contributed by Shem Guibbory for the RMA-NY.

Thanks to the governor’s Film Office, John Genz, C.P.A. (partner, Eisner/Amper) and John Hadity (executive V.P. of Entertainment Partners Financial Solutions) for providing information for this article.

Next article in this series: “Increasing film music in New York: a myth-buster’s guide.”