Topsheet provides COVID-19 touchless payroll for productions
May 15, 2022

There are a million reasons why a production company ought to consider filming in the great state of Montana- 99% of those reasons happen to include the sheer beauty the state possesses. If you have never been there, you are seriously missing out on the visual splendor Montana’s landscape has to offer. It’s a place where your imagination can truly run wild. It’s also a great place to consider parking yourself if you are in need of a writer’s solitude. But be warned, the winters can get nasty.

The other 1% of reasons are financial. As of July 1, 2019, the Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement Act (MEDIA) came into effect. The MEDIA Act offers a 20% transferable income tax credit of production expenditures in the state with additional amounts that can increase the credit by up to 35% of the production company’s base investment in the tax year. Not to mention the much lower cost of living compared to other states like California, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Hawaii, etc. Montana exists in the mid-range and varies from city to city.

The breakdown of potential credits are as follows: 25% of compensation for Montana resident crew 15% of compensation for any non-Montana resident crew 20% of above-the-line (actor, director, producer, writer) compensation 30% of the compensation paid to a student enrolled in a Montana college/university who works on the production for school credit. 10% of payments to Montana 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 the “Filmed in Montana” screen credit logo 25% of post-production wages

What are the requirements?

1) Pre-certification with the Department of Commerce Production companies should register with the office of the Montana Secretary of State 7-10 days before applying. Productions must apply for pre-certification with the Montana Department of Film Office before production begins. 2) Media Credit Application with the Department of Revenue To claim the MEDIA credit, productions must apply with the Department of Revenue. The "submission of costs" must be submitted within 60 days of principal photography for the credit to be available in the year of production; otherwise, the credit will be pushed back one year. In addition, as part of the application, a CPA report is due by April 15 of the year following the year of production to be eligible for the MEDIA credit. 3) Media Credit Cap The total amount of tax credits claimed by all productions cannot exceed $10M in any calendar year. The media credit is reserved when a production company submits a complete media credit application as provided under ARM 42.4.3411. The media credit is validated when the Department has approved a media credit application and issued a media credit with a corresponding unique credit reference number. The total media credit available is the amount of media credit available that can be validated for a particular year. House Bill 340 increases the media credit available starting in 2022 from $10 million to $12 million, with contingent termination by the Budget Director. If the $10 million cap has been reached in 2022 (as well as for future years), then the Department of Revenue will postpone issuing certificates with the additional $2 million in credit until a decision has been made by the Budget Director, which must occur by December 30, 2021.

If the full amount of credit is not utilized, then the remaining credit is not carried forward. For example, if only $5 million of the credit is used in a tax year, the remaining $5 million does not get carried forward to the following tax year. However, excess validated credit is pushed to the following year. For example, if a production earns $15 million dollars of credit in Year One and the cap has already been reached, the excess credit can be taken in Year Two.

How is priority determined?

Priority is based on when the production company submits a complete application, which includes the submission of costs and the CPA report.

How do I apply for the MEDIA Act tax incentive?

The Montana Film Office uses Submittable (a cloud-based application manager) for applying to the MEDIA Act. production application Post production application

If you are in need of a PDF version for planning or application purposes, contact Stacey Zyliak, Media Incentive and Grant Specialist. Email:

Links to forms for MEDIA credit

MEDIA Credit Application (Form MEDIA-Credit) MEDIA Credit Transfer (Form MTC) MEDIA Credit - Submission of Costs (Form MC-SOC) MEDIA Credit Payment Voucher MEDIA Credit Claim (Form MEDIA-CLAIM) MEDIA Compensation Claim (Form MEDIA-COMP)

How can Topsheet help with my next film?

Topsheet’s vast database makes dull production tasks a breeze.

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About Topsheet

Topsheet is an entertainment tech company specializing in production payroll. We service clients from commercials for Fortune 500 to feature films. We are born in technology, built with filmmakers in mind.

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