Michigan Film Incentives

In 2015, Governor Snyder eliminated the State of Michigan incentives for film and television productions.

Film incentives may include a tax credit, grants, rebates, or bonuses, for example. Navigating how to best utilize such incentives sometimes amounts to a daunting task for filmmakers, but Mauro Law Firm stands ready to help your production capitalize upon the incentives when the State of Michigan (hopefully) quickly wises up again and puts a workable tax incentive program back in place.

Tax incentives are a great thing for the film industry. Not having any program in place squarely places Michigan amongst only a handful of states offering nothing. In other words, Michigan is an outcast. Michigan should not be because it offers so many wonderful advantages and beautiful locations for filmmakers to shoot projects. From our spectacular lakes and quaint villages to a winter wonderland often needed in a production, Michigan offers amazing filming locations, not to mention a continually growing base of hungry filmmakers lacking sufficient filmmaking opportunities if production companies opt for another Midwest state that does smartly offer some type of film incentive. Granted, few states are able to bring to the table what Michigan can, but if a state bordering one of Michigan’s Great Lakes does offer such a rebate and a passable location similar to Michigan’s tranquil waters or lush woodlands, why would a production company choose Michigan if it could save tens of thousands, or perhaps millions, of dollars by simply shooting the project in another state (or in Canada, which offers incentives)? The production company will not do so because the people running it are not stupid and want to see the project do as well as it can. To that end, Michigan NEEDS to get back into the game by finding a plan that works for all of us. The bottom line is that the incentives, in whichever form they take, make a huge difference for a project by effectively adding to the budget.

The incentives also greatly assist Michigan itself by creating jobs and boosting the local economy. Hotels, Airbnbs, restaurants, car rentals, insurers, and so many other businesses benefit from big productions spending months within the state filming a project. 

The proposed legislation for Michigan film incentives includes a tax credit of 25% for spending on a project in the State of Michigan, along with an additional 5% awarded to the production by simply including a “Filmed in Michigan” logo. In other words, productions will save approximately 30% in Michigan, will hire Michiganders to do work on the film, will boost local economies by pumping a ton of cash into the area while shooting the movie or television show in Michigan, and will otherwise keep phenomenal talent here in the State of Michigan instead of watching them flee to Los Angeles, Atlanta or literally almost any other place in North America that does offer reasonable incentives. Quite simply, we look like morons by not having some type of program in place.

To that end, let your local lawmaker know that you support and want Michigan film incentives back in Michigan.