What are the steps to secure a tax credit?
- Submit an Application
- Commercials - must be received 24 hours prior to shooting
- TV & Film - must be received 5 business days prior to shooting
- If the application is approved, an Accredited Production Certificate will be issued to the applicant.
- The credit may be claimed upon completion of production in Illinois but no later than two years following the completion of production in Illinois.
- The tax credit will be issued upon IFO’s verification of all costs submitted by an independent CPA (approved by IFO prior to work on the engagement commences), and verification that the applicant has met or made good-faith efforts in achieving the goals of their diversity plan.
receiving an Accredited Production Certificate does not directly guarantee a tax credit certificate. An Accredited Production Certificate only means the application is eligible to claim a tax credit certificate. **
2. How do I apply?
Here is a list of all the documents that comprise a complete application:
- Seven page
- Proof of Copyright or Contract. Please note, a notarized affidavit is permissible in lieu of Proof of Copyright (see page 7 of the application). Only contracts signed and dated by all parties will be accepted.
- IRS EIN Assignment Letter (first-time applicants only)
- Confidentiality Letter (if applicable)
- Storyboards (commercials only)
3. What wages qualify for the Illinois Tax Credit?
Only wages and employer paid benefits to Illinois residents are eligible for the Credit (up to $100,000 per resident).
4. How is an Illinois resident defined?
An Illinois resident is a person who is "domiciled" in Illinois during the accredited production. Residency is verified by a driver's license or state identification issued prior to commencement of the accredited production.
Proof of residency shall be provided by submission of:
- A legible copy of the Illinois drivers' license or state identification.
- A properly completed I-9 that provides the Illinois resident's:
- street address
- drivers' license or state identification number
- expiration date of the Illinois drivers' license or state identification
5. Do loan-outs qualify?
In the case where an individual operates through a corporation and is the sole shareholder and employee of the corporation, the individual may qualify if he meets the residency requirement.
6. What qualifies as "in-state" spending?
Expenditures that are reasonable under the circumstances and directly attributed to the production, including:
- Wages paid to Illinois residents (limited to the first $100,000 per individual)
- Expenses for the purchase of tangible personal property and services from vendors in Illinois (Qualified Expenditures)
7. Can expenses incurred prior to receiving the Accredited Production Certificate be claimed?
Yes, expenses that are directly incurred for the production from the final script stage to the end of post-production are eligible.
What costs qualify for the additional 15% tax credit?
The production is eligible for an additional 15% tax credit on Illinois labor expenditures for employees who live in an area of an area of high unemployment and earned a minimum of $1,000 on the production.
9. Where can I find an Illinois Film Office approved CPA?
The IFO maintains a
list of CPAs that have previously worked on Film Tax Credit engagements. You may request to use a CPA outside the list, if the CPA is independent of the applicant and licensed in Illinois. Contact the IFO before work on the engagement commences.
10. Where can I find an Illinois Film Tax Credit Buyer?
Tax Credit Buyers
The IFO provides this information for your reference. We do not endorse any of the services provided herein. Transferees are not limited to these entities. Recipients may transfer the credit to any taxpayer.
11. What is needed to transfer my tax credit?
Within one year of issuance, the applicant may request that the tax credit be transferred to up to 10 transferees. The applicant shall submit, in writing, a request naming the transferee(s), including tax identification number, address, and amount to be transferred.
Transfer Request Form
12. Is there a cap on credits?
No, there is no cap in the amount of credit an applicant can earn, nor is there a cap for the program overall.
13. When does the tax credit expire?
The Illinois Film Tax Credit is currently scheduled for legislative review in 2026.
14. Is there a fee to apply?
There is no fee to apply.
15. Is there recapture on the tax credit?
There is no recapture on the credit.
16. If I do not have my contract or proof of copyright/ownership, how long do I have to submit the document?
Once an application is submitted, the applicant has 30 days to submit all required paperwork.
17. What is the minimum spend to qualify for the tax credit?
Minimum spend is $50,000 for productions of less than 30 minutes and $100,000 for productions of 30 minutes or longer.
Is there a deadline to claim the tax credit?
The deadline to submit a claim for the tax credit (submit financials) is two years from the date the last IL qualified expenditure was paid.