The Mississippi Motion Picture
Incentive Program

Film

Movie Theatre
Cypress
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People

The Mississippi Motion Picture Incentive Program provides a cash rebate on eligible expenditures and payroll and provides sales and use tax reductions on eligible rentals/purchases. This program is available for nationally distributed motion pictures, television programs, DVDs, documentaries, short films, commercials, video games; and includes animation, interactive media, 3D applications, cinematics, visual effects, and motion capture. National distribution includes theatrical, broadcast, direct to DVD/video, festival screening, streaming video, and internet delivery.

There is a $50,000 minimum Mississippi investment (local spend) per project. There is a $10 million per project rebate cap. There is a $20 million annual rebate cap. (Mississippi’s fiscal year is July 1- June 30.) There is no minimum requirement for production days or percentage of production spend. At least 20% of the production crew on payroll must be Mississippi residents.

Participation in the Mississippi Motion Picture Incentive Program must be acknowledged in the end credits. The Mississippi Film Office logo must also be displayed. Graphic will be provided.


Mississippi Investment Rebate (25%)

A production is eligible for a 25% rebate of their base investment (local spend) in Mississippi. The base investment is based on production expenditures in Mississippi. As a general rule, Mississippi spend is defined as expenditures paid to Mississippi vendors and companies, including cast and crew non-payroll expenditures (i.e., per diems and housing allowances), and all fringes.

Payments made for airfares directly related to the project in Mississippi where travel is to/from airports in Mississippi, Baton Rouge, Little Rock, New Orleans, Memphis, or Mobile are qualified spend only if reservations are made through a Mississippi-based travel agent or agency.

The rental or purchase of equipment and production specific goods and services is qualified spend in the following instances: (1) directly from a Mississippi vendor; (2) through a Mississippi production company/vendor providing equipment rented from an out-of-state company or a Mississippi vendor regularly engaged in the business of providing specific goods and services, provided an industry standard mark-up has been added; or (3) from an out-of-state equipment company that has established a staffed local office or has contracted with a local representative in Mississippi.


Non-Resident Payroll Rebate (25%)

A production is eligible for a 25% cash rebate on payroll paid to non-resident cast and crew whose wages are subject to Mississippi Income Tax Withholding and for that portion of their salary for the project up to and including $5 million. For purposes of this program, payroll means salary, wages, or other compensation including related benefits paid to employees upon which Mississippi income tax is due, has been withheld, and has been paid. Loan outs qualify with a 5% withholding fee.


Resident Payroll Rebate (30%)

A production is eligible for a 30% cash rebate on payroll paid to resident cast and crew whose wages are subject to Mississippi Income Tax Withholding and for that portion of their salary for the project up to and including $5 million. (The employee must live in Mississippi, or maintain a home here and spend more than 6 months in the state.) For purposes of this program, payroll means salary, wages, or other compensation including related benefits paid to employees upon which Mississippi income tax is due, has been withheld, and has been paid. Loan outs qualify with a 5% withholding fee.


Honorably Discharged Veteran Payroll Rebate (5%)

A production is eligible for an additional 5% cash rebate on payroll paid to any member of the cast or crew who is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Armed Forces.

Note: The Mississippi Income Tax Withholding Rate is 3-5%. The tax rate for loan outs is 5%. This must be paid for loan outs to qualify.


Sales and Use Tax Reduced Rates

Production equipment and machinery used directly in the filming and/or editing of a project may be taxed at the reduced rate of 1.5%, as stated in Section 27-65-11 and Section 27-65-17 of the Mississippi Code of 1972. The following production equipment is eligible for this reduced rate:

  • Audio equipment
  • Camera equipment
  • Lighting equipment
  • Projection equipment
  • Sound equipment
  • Computer equipment used for animation, editing, or special effects

Application

The production company must submit an application to the Mississippi Film Office/MDA. Required with the signed application are:

  • 1)The script and a one page synopsis (if a feature/television project), the storyboard (if a commercial), or the treatment (if a documentary).
  • 2)The proposed budget.

The application must be submitted before the beginning of production for the Mississippi portion of the project. All relevant Department of Revenue documents must be completed, submitted, and approved before reductions can be taken.

The Mississippi Film Office reviews the application for requisite information and submits the application for approval to the Division of Financial Resources of the Mississippi Development Authority. Upon approval, the MDA issues a Letter of Commitment. All qualified production expenses are eligible for the rebate from the date of the letter. Once the production is prepared to publicly announce the project, the production is issued a certificate at a public meeting of the MDA Board.

Note: Rebates and tax reductions will not be given on any expenditure made prior to the date of the Letter of Commitment from the MDA.

Based on submitted budget information, the MDA establishes a maximum rebate figure. Any upward revision of the original rebate estimate must include a revised budget and letter of request to the Mississippi Film Office submitted prior to the halfway point of production in Mississippi.

Refund

Upon completion of the Mississippi portion of the project, the production company must supply the Mississippi Department of Revenue and the Mississippi Film Office with documentation to substantiate the rebate request. The Department of Revenue will provide sample templates for the submission of spend and payroll.

The Mississippi Department of Revenue will audit the submission in house. The Department of Revenue reserves the right to request verification of expenditures by an independent party, or request copies of invoices and proof of payment prior to approving the rebate request. The Department of Revenue will attempt to process all rebates within 90 business days after submission of all required and requested documentation and relevant backup materials.


Additional Requirements

During pre-production, the production must submit to the Mississippi Film Office blank copies of the production’s Certificate of Insurance, the Location Agreement, and any talent releases and crew deal memos. Other relevant forms may also be requested.

No later than a week before the start of principal photography in Mississippi, the production must supply the Mississippi Film Office the following information:

  • Cast list
  • Location list
  • Vendor list
  • Shooting schedule
  • Shooting script

Additionally, the Director and Deputy Director of the Film Office must be added to the distribution list for all call sheets and all script revisions.

Upon completion of production, final versions of the above lists must be submitted to the Film Office.


Additional information may be obtained by contacting

  • The Mississippi Film Office
  • P. O. Box 849
  • Jackson, MS 39205
  • 601-359-3422

Non-legislative sections of these guidelines are subject to change by MDA as required or needed. Revised: October 2014

MISSISSIPPI FILM OFFICE
Woolfolk State Office Building
501 North West Street, 5th Floor
Jackson, MS 39201
P.O. Box 849
Jackson, MS 39205
T: 601-359-3297
F: 601-359-5048
Ward Emling
wemling@mississippi.org
Nina Parikh
nparikh@mississippi.org
Betty Black
bblack@mississippi.org
Bill Webb (Gulf Coast Office)
bwebb@mississippi.org