Bill addresses problems auditors found with Georgia’s film tax credit

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State lawmakers will consider legislation that would tighten up administration of Georgia’s popular $800 million-a-year film tax credit program after auditors found millions of dollars in ineligible expenditures by companies.

Rep. Matt Dollar, R-Marietta, the sponsor of House Bill 1037, said his legislation was filed in response to Department of Audits and Accounts and university reviews of the program.

“The code hasn’t been updated in 12 years,” Dollar said. “The industry has changed a lot.”

Dollar’s bill, among other things, would require film productions to undergo mandatory audits of expenditures to make sure they are eligible for tax credits. That was one of the recommendations of state auditors. It also aims to stop what auditors said were tax credits granted for work outside of Georgia.

Kelsey Moore, the executive director of the Georgia Screen Entertainment Coalition, said: “The Georgia film industry is at the table working with legislators to make sure our successful tax credit program operates as intended.

“As this legislation moves through the process, our top priority is preserving the underlying policies that have a built a thriving new industry, attracted billions in investments and created thousands of high-paying Georgia jobs.”

Georgia has grown its film industry by leaps and bounds by giving the nation’s most lucrative credits for film work. The tax credits, which grew from $141 million in 2010 to an estimated $870 million in 2019, have been a policy mainstay over the course of two previous Republican administrations. See more at AJC.

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