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Film in Florida Sales Tax Exemption

Any qualified production company engaged in the production of motion pictures, made for television motion pictures, television series, commercial advertising, music videos, or sound recordings in Florida may be eligible for an exemption from sales and use tax on the purchase or lease of certain items used exclusively as an integral part of the production activities in Florida. The production company must apply for a certificate of exemption to be presented to a registered Florida sales and use tax dealer when making purchases and renting qualified production equipment.

How to Apply

For the 90-Day Exemption: Any production company (Florida-based or non-Florida based) conducting motion picture, television, or sound recording business in Florida may be designated a qualified production company and receive a single 90-day Certificate of Exemption from the Florida Department of Revenue. This certificate expires 90 days after the effective date. Upon the expiration of the original 90-day Certificate, a qualified production company may request an extension of the 90-day Certificate of Exemption by using the online application at Film in Florida. Upon expiration or cessation of business, the production company is required to return the certificate to the Department.

For the 12-Month Exemption: A production company (Florida-based only) conducting motion picture, television, or sound recording business at a permanent Florida address for a period of 12 consecutive months may be designated a qualified production company and receive a single 12-month Certificate of Exemption from the Department. This certificate expires one year after the effective date or upon the cessation of business operations in Florida, whichever occurs first. Qualified production companies that receive a 12-month Certificate of Exemption may renew the certificate annually for up to five years by using the online application at Film in Florida. Upon expiration or cessation of business, the production company is required to return the certificate to the Department.

Turnaround Time

The Office of Film and Entertainment (OFE) will determine whether or not a production company meets the established approval criteria and qualifies for the exemption upon receipt of the properly completed online application. The OFE will then notify the Florida Department of Revenue of the approval. The Department will issue the Certificate of Exemption within five working days of the notification from the OFE.

Production Equipment - Qualifying Tangible Personal Property

Tangible personal property means personal property that may be seen, weighed, measured, or touched. For the equipment to qualify for the exemption, the tangible personal property must be used exclusively as an integral part of the production activities in Florida. The equipment must be depreciable with a useful life of at least three years. The exemption may also be extended to parts and accessories for qualified production equipment.

Examples of Qualified Equipment, Parts, and Accessories

Bull Horns Sets
Cameras Sound Booms
Camera Cables and Connectors Sound Equipment
Costumes Sound Mixers
Custom Designed Production Software Sound Recorders
Dollies Stages
Foggers (not fluid) Teleprompters
Generators Tents
Grip Equipment Video Cables and Connectors
Lighting Video Recorders
Location Fees Walkie Talkies
Microphones Wardrobes - (non-expendable)
Production Computers Wigs
Props - (non-expendable)

The purchase, by the producer or an employee acting on the producer's behalf, of materials such as bolts, nails, lumber, paint, and other materials which become a component part of a finished product used as an integral part of the production activity, qualifies for the sales tax exemption. Tools and accessories used to construct the product do not qualify for the exemption.

Examples of Equipment, Parts, and Accessories that Do Not Qualify Include

Audio Tapes Office Supplies
Batteries (over-the-counter) Raw Stock Film
Film (35 mm, etc.) Records
Light Bulbs (household) Travel Expenses
Lodging Vehicles (includes rental cars, trucks, motorcycles, other licensed vehicles)
Make-up Vessels
Meals (includes catering services) Video Tapes

Props and wardrobe that are purchased and can be stored for future production activities may qualify for the exemption. Food, beverages, plants, or personal clothing (lingerie, underwear) although used in the production, would not qualify for the exemption. Nails, paint, and other items that become a component part of a finished product are exempt. The brushes, pails, masking tape, and other tools and accessories would not qualify.

Generally, vehicles and vessels that are required to be registered, licensed, or titled do not qualify for the exemption. The exception would be registered, licensed, or titled vehicles and vessels that are specifically designed and factory equipped with qualified production equipment. Motor homes or other vehicles and vessels not specifically equipped with production equipment, or if used for wardrobe or make-up, or used as cast and crew quarters, are not eligible for the exemption. Attachments to the ineligible vehicles or vessels, such as camera racks or boom arms, would be eligible if separately itemized on the invoice.

Lease or Rental of Real Property

Real property means the surface land, improvements thereto, and fixtures, and is synonymous with realty and real estate. The leasing, renting, or granting of a license to use any real property such as sound stages, studios, or any other real estate used as an integral part of the performance of the qualified production services, as noted below, is exempt from tax.

To determine if the real property is exempt from tax, the term "qualified production services" means any activity or service performed directly in connection with the production of a qualified motion picture, made for television motion picture, television series, commercial advertising, music video or sound recording. Examples include the design, planning, engineering, construction, alteration, repair, and maintenance of real or tangible personal property, including, but not limited to models, paintings, props, sets, stages, and facilities principally required for the performance of the qualified production services listed below.

Examples of Activities

Animation, Directing, Printing Composing, Editing Script, Supervising
Casting, Distributing, Processing Computer Graphics, Looping, Shooting
Choreographing, Dubbing, Producing Consulting, Mixing, Storing
Coaching, Duplicating, Scoring Cutting, Photography, Writing

Examples of Services
Adaptation (language, media, electronic, or otherwise)

Creation of Special and Optical Effects Set and stage support (such as electricians, greensmen, grips, lighting designers and operators, and prop managers and assistants)
Designing and Executing Stunts Sound and Recording
Hair and Makeup (design, production, and application) Technological Modifications
Location Managing and Scouting Wardrobe (design, preparation, and management)
Performing (such as acting, dancing, and playing) Property management services directly related to property used in connection with the qualified production services described above may be exempt

Master Tapes, Master Records, Master Films, or Master Video Tapes

The sale or lease of master tapes or master records used by the recording industry in reproducing audio recordings is taxable only on the value of the blank tapes or records used as a medium to transfer the master tapes or records. Likewise, the sale or lease of master films and master video tapes that are used in reproducing visual images for showing on screens or television is taxable only on the value of the blank film or tape used as a medium to transfer the master films and tapes. The value of all the major cost components of making a master, such as artistic services, processing, and copyrights or royalties, is excluded from the taxable price of the sale or lease. This tax treatment is limited to sales or leases by a recording studio to the recording industry or by a motion picture or television studio to the motion picture or television production industry.

Reference: Section 288.1258, Florida Statutes