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What are Movie and Video Game Tax Credits?

If you've ever wondered why so many movies and video games are produced in certain cities or states, the answer often lies in tax credits. Tax credits are financial incentives offered by governments to attract production companies, create jobs, and boost local economies.

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Reasons for Cities to Create Tax Credits

To Attract New Studios

One of the primary reasons cities and states offer tax credits for movie and video game production is to attract new studios. By providing financial incentives, governments can entice studios to set up shop in their area. This influx of production companies can lead to significant economic benefits, including increased spending on local goods and services.

To Create Jobs

Tax credits for movie and video game production are also designed to create jobs. When a production company decides to shoot a movie or develop a game in a particular location, they hire local talent. This can include everything from actors and crew members to software developers and graphic designers. The result is a boost in employment opportunities for residents.

To Foster a Digital Economy for the Future

In today's digital age, fostering a digital economy is more important than ever. By offering tax credits to movie and video game producers, cities and states can help build a robust digital economy. This not only includes the direct benefits of production but also the long-term advantages of becoming a hub for digital innovation and creativity.

How Tax Credits Work

Tax credits work by reducing the amount of tax that a company owes to the government. For example, if a production company qualifies for a tax credit, they can deduct a certain percentage of their production costs from their tax bill. This reduction can make a significant difference in the overall cost of production, making it more attractive for companies to choose locations that offer these incentives.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  1. Economic Growth: Tax credits can stimulate local economies by attracting production companies that spend money on local goods and services.
  2. Job Creation: By bringing in production companies, tax credits create jobs for local residents.
  3. Digital Innovation: Encouraging film and game production can help build a digital economy and promote technological advancements.
  4. Tourism Boost: Popular movies and games can attract tourists to the filming or development locations, providing additional economic benefits.


  1. Cost to Government: Offering tax credits can be costly for governments, reducing the revenue they collect.
  2. Inequitable Distribution: The benefits of tax credits might not be evenly distributed, favoring certain industries or companies over others.
  3. Dependency: Some regions may become too dependent on tax credits, making them vulnerable if those incentives are reduced or removed.

How to Apply for Tax Credits

Applying for tax credits typically involves several steps:

  1. Research Eligibility: Production companies need to determine if they are eligible for tax credits based on their location, production type, and other criteria.
  2. Submit an Application: Companies must fill out an application form and submit it to the relevant government agency.
  3. Provide Documentation: Detailed documentation of production costs and other relevant information is required to support the application.
  4. Approval Process: The application will be reviewed, and if approved, the company will receive a certificate or approval letter confirming their tax credit.
  5. Claim the Credit: Finally, the company can claim the tax credit on their tax return, reducing the amount of tax they owe.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are tax credits?

Tax credits are financial incentives provided by governments to reduce the tax liability of companies that meet certain criteria, such as producing movies or video games in a specific location.

Who can apply for movie and video game tax credits?

Production companies involved in making movies, TV shows, or video games can apply for tax credits if they meet the eligibility requirements set by the local government.

What types of expenses are covered by tax credits?

Eligible expenses typically include production costs such as salaries, equipment rentals, location fees, and post-production expenses.

How much can a company save with tax credits?

The amount saved depends on the specific tax credit program and the company's eligible expenses. Savings can range from a few percent to a significant portion of the production costs.

Are tax credits available in all cities and states?

No, tax credit availability varies by location. Companies need to research which cities or states offer tax credits for movie and video game production.

Key Takeaways

  1. Attracting New Studios: Tax credits are used to lure production companies to specific locations.
  2. Creating Jobs: These incentives help create jobs for local residents by bringing in production companies.
  3. Fostering a Digital Economy: Tax credits support the growth of a digital economy and encourage technological innovation.
  4. Functionality: Tax credits reduce a company's tax liability, making it more cost-effective to produce movies and games.
  5. Pros and Cons: While tax credits can stimulate economic growth and job creation, they can also be costly for governments and lead to inequitable benefits.
  6. Application Process: Applying for tax credits involves researching eligibility, submitting an application, providing documentation, and claiming the credit on tax returns.

Tax credits for movie and video game production offer numerous benefits, from attracting new studios and creating jobs to fostering a future-focused digital economy. Understanding how these incentives work, their advantages and disadvantages, and the application process can help production companies make informed decisions about where to locate their projects.

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