Iowa reinstates tax credit for film productions

By Chris Rizo | Nov 24, 2009

Tom Miller (D)

DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline)-Iowa has reinstated its film production tax credit program for projects already in the pipeline, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said.

Miller said Monday that while no new film projects will be approved until the state Legislature and the governor act on the program, the state will process 28 already-approved projects.

Five film companies are suing Iowa over the suspension of a tax credit aimed at wooing movie productions to the Hawkeye State.

Iowa Eye Entertainment LLC, Daedalus Film AG, C-Films France SAS, Clean Out Productions Inc. and Clean Out Film Services Inc. have sued the Iowa Department of Economic Development to make good on the promises made by the Iowa Department of Economic Development's Film, Television and Video Promotion Program.

The film companies say they were approved for $6.5 million in tax credits before the program was suspended last month by Gov. Chet Culver. The tax-credit program for filmmaking was suspended after an internal audit revealed abuses.

Culver said the attorney general says the state must process projects that were being considered before the suspension.

"The attorney general has determined that the state is legally obligated to move forward with existing contracts and approved applications," Culver said in a statement. "However, no new applications for film tax credits will be accepted until the program is reviewed by the legislature."

Under the program, filmmakers get a tax credit of up to 50 percent of what they spend to make a movie in Iowa. The program has paid about $32 million for 22 projects over the past three years.

In a letter last month to state officials, the governor outlined his concerns about the program.

"While there have been many reported benefits resulting from IDED's implementation of this program, our office very recently learned that there have been insufficient procedures in place to assure a full and accurate accounting of expenditures made to enable persons to qualify for tax credits under the program," the governor's letter said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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