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Film in Florida Sales Tax Exemption

Effective January 1, 2001, any qualified production company engaged in Florida in the production of motion pictures, made for television motion pictures, television series, commercial advertising, music videos or sound recordings 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 rentals of qualified production equipment.

How to Apply

  • Determine the tax exemption certificate that best fits your needs and qualifications.
    • For the 90-Day Exemption: Any production company (Florida-based or non-Florida based) conducting motion picture, television or sound recording business in the State of 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 shall expire 90 days after date of issuance or effective date. Upon the expiration of the original 90-day Certificate, a qualified production company may request an extension to the 90-day Certificate of Exemption by using the online application at www.filminflorida.com. Upon expiration or cessation of business, the production company is required to return the certificate to the Florida Department of Revenue.
    • For the 12-Month Exemption: A production company (Florida-based only) conducting motion picture, television or sound recording business in the State of Florida 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 form from the Florida Department of Revenue. This certificate shall expire one year after the date of issuance or effective date, or upon the cessation of business operations in the state, 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 www.filminflorida.com. Upon expiration or cessation of business, the production company is required to return the certificate to the Florida Department of Revenue.
  • Apply for an Entertainment Industry Qualified Production Company Certificate of Exemption (Form DR-230) by using the online application at www.filminflorida.com.

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 on-line application. The OFE will then notify the Department of Revenue of the approval. The Department of Revenue will issue the certificate of exemption within 5 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 this state. The equipment must be depreciable with a useful life of at least 3 years. The exemption may also be extended to parts and accessories for qualified production equipment.

Examples of qualified equipment, parts, and accessories include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bull horns
  • Cameras
  • Camera cables and connectors
  • Costumes
  • Custom designed production
  • Software
  • Dollies
  • Foggers (not fluid)
  • Generators
  • Grip equipment
  • Lighting
  • Location Fees
  • Microphones
  • Production computers
  • Props (non-expendable)
  • Sets
  • Sound booms
  • Sound equipment
  • Sound mixers
  • Sound recorders
  • Stages
  • Teleprompters
  • Tents
  • Video recorders
  • Video cables and connectors
  • Walkie talkies
  • Wardrobes (non-expendable)
  • Wigs

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, but are not limited to:

  • Audio tapes
  • Batteries (over-the-counter)
  • Film (35mm, etc.)
  • Light bulbs (household)
  • Lodging
  • Make-up
  • Meals (includes catering services)
  • Office supplies
  • Raw stock film
  • Records
  • Travel expenses
  • Vehicles (includes rental cars, trucks, motorcycles, other licensed vehicles)
  • Vessels
  • 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, etc., 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.

Activities

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

Services

Adaptation (language, media, electronic, or otherwise)

  • Creation of special and optical effects
  • Designing and executing stunts
  • Hair and makeup (design, production, and application)
  • Location managing and scouting
  • Performing (such as acting, dancing, and playing)
  • Set and stage support (such as electricians, greensmen, grips, lighting designers and operators, and prop managers and assistants)
  • Sound and recording
  • Technological modifications
  • Wardrobe (design, preparation, and management)
  • 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 that are used by the recording industry in reproducing audio recordings are 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.

References:  Section 288.1258, F.S.