MEDIA Tax Credit


Bighorn Canyon Bighorn Canyon near Fort Smith, MT

On July 1, 2019, the Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement (MEDIA) Act came into effect. It offers a 20% transferable income tax credit on production expenditures in the state with additional amounts that can increase the credit up to 35% of the production company’s base investment in the tax year. These are per production. Additional incentives include:

  • 25% of compensation for MT resident crew
  • 15% of compensation for non-MT resident crew
  • 20% of above-the-line compensation (actor, director, producer, writer)
  • 30% of compensation paid to a student enrolled in a MT college/university who works on the production for college credit
  • 10% of payments to MT colleges/universities for stage, equipment, rentals, or location fees for filming on campus
  • 10% of all in-studio facility/equipment expenditures that rents a studio for 20 days or more
  • 5% of expenditures in an underserved county
  • 5% for using “Filmed in Montana” screen credit logo
  • 25% of post-production wages

Administering the MEDIA Act

The MEDIA Act transferrable tax credit is administered by two Montana state agencies: the Department of Commerce, Film Office and the Department of Revenue. Each department has its own set of rules, applications and fees.

Legislation

House Bill 293 – The MEDIA Act

House Bill 340 – The MEDIA Act, Revised

Senate Bill 27 – The MEDIA Act, Revised

Administrative Rules Governing the MEDIA Act for the Dept. of Commerce

8.119.301: Definitions

8.119.302: Application for State Certification of Production

8.119.303: State Certification of Production

8.119.304: Application for State Certification of Production with Base Investment of Less Than $350,000 but Greater Than $50,000

8.119.305: State Certification of Production with Base Investment of Less Than $350,000 but Greater Than $50,000

8.119.306: State Certified Productions Eligible to Use the Montana Screen Credit

8.119.307: Revocation of State Certification

8.119.308: Application for State Certification of Postproduction Company

8.119.309: State Certification of Postproduction Company


Helpful Documents When Applying

Application Instructions    Application Instructions & Record Keeping Tips

These instructions assist in the application process for certification with the Montana Film Office and provide tips on record keeping, and submission of costs.

Incentive CalculatorIncentive Calculator Estimator

Enter potential expenditures, labor costs, and incentive percentages and calculate an estimated credit total. The calculations are to be used in the application form.

MT SOS TipsMontana Secretary of State Filing Tips

At least 7-10 days BEFORE applying, register the production company with the Montana Secretary of State (SOS). The online application requires a current certificate to be uploaded to verify the production company is registered to do business in Montana.

Underserved Counties & Montana Poverty Rate Map

This map shows the underserved counties and poverty rate in Montana. Filming in these counties qualifies for claiming 5% of expenditures in an underserved county. The data set may change from year to year, but the year in effect of the application follows the application.

Montana Colleges & Universities

30% of compensation paid to students enrolled in these Montana colleges and universities can be applied to the tax incentive if they receive college credit for working on your production.

Business Startup Checklist Business Startup Checklist

Steps to take when starting a Montana business.


How to Apply

Productions must first apply for certification with the Department of Commerce, Film Office. Then, to claim the credit, productions will apply with the Department of Revenue. We provide information on the application process with the Montana Department of Revenue on the bottom of this page.

Productions must first apply for certification with the Department of Commerce/Film Office BEFORE any principal photography takes place. An online application and required documents are required, along with a $500 non-refundable application fee.

The Montana Film Office uses Submittable.com (cloud-based application platform) for the MEDIA Act application. Click the appropriate button (Production or Post-Production) below to apply. Pay the application fee online or mail in, see below.

Paying for the Application Fee

The $500 application fee  may be paid online by clicking the button below. All major credit cards and ACH (e-checks) are accepted. There are processing fees associated with payment types that varies.

Payment may be mailed/delivered to:

Montana Department of Commerce
301 S Park, Room 129
PO Box 200533
Helena, MT 59601


MT Department of Revenue

To claim the MEDIA tax credit, certified productions must submit a media tax credit application to the Montana Department of Revenue after they have completed principal photography. Productions will need to submit their Submission of Costs to the Department of Revenue within 60 days of principal photography (which includes wrap) if to claim the tax credit in the same year of production.

For more in-depth information on applying with the Department of Revenue, FAQs, and tax credit caps by calendar year, visit the agency’s site below.

Economic Impact of the Film Production Industry in Montana Report

Film production generates significant economic activity for host communities, drawing out-of-town spending, generating jobs, and bolstering local businesses. Because of this potential boost to Montana local economies, the Montana State Legislature passed the Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement Act (MEDIA Act) in 2019 to provide an income tax incentive to attract film, television, and other media production to the state.

The Economic Impact of the Film Production Industry in Montana Report provides an analysis of the economic, fiscal, and potential societal impacts from film and television production in Montana, and specifically evaluates the impacts associated with the MEDIA Act Tax Credit Program. Read the reports below.

Econsult Solutions, Inc. has recently completed an assessment of the economic impact of the MEDIA Tax Credit Program. As part of our analysis, we hope to understand the true impact of the film industry in Montana. In order to do so, we are asking for TV and filmmakers to complete this brief survey.