The low-profile US State of Maine offers both tax and non-tax incentives to promote this charming destination
The scenic beauty – waterfront, rocky coastline, beautiful cityscapes, jagged mountains and dense, forested interiors – makes Maine a one-stop travel destination. It also makes it an attractive filming destination because Maine has it all.
Located in the north-eastern region of the United States, apart from the pristine countryside, the rich history of the State has always beckoned visitors from all over the world to explore its locales. Numerous memoirs reflect that the State has fascinating architecture; mostly 19th century styles, which are elegant and have also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Augusta is the capital of Maine while Portland is its largest city. Kennebec River flowing through Downtown area of Augusta adds exquisiteness to the skyline of the metropolis. An eventful city with numerous sites of interests – Blaine House, Maine State Museum and Pine Tree State Arboretum – it is the third-smallest State capital in the US.
In terms of tourist attractions, prominent buildings and neighbourhoods, Portland offers plenty for tourists. From the panoramic view of the conurbation to the contemporary setting of the various neighbourhoods which includes Eastern Promenade Park, waterfront, Art’s District and the West End, they all are picturesque. Portland’s historic Old Port is a tourist hub. Decked with outstanding brick buildings, antique lamp posts and cobblestone streets, the locality is filled with boutiques, restaurants and bars.
Another city which also overflows with revellers is Bangor, a major commercial and cultural city. The Thomas Hill Standpipe, an elegant shingle-style structure, is a famous landmark. Other prominent places are St John’s Catholic Church, Downtown Bangor, the Opera House and the Public Library.
Maine has various other counties that are noted for their own defined style. With the help of the Maine Film Commission, all these townships are made available for shooting. Production houses can also avail incentive schemes offered by the government.
Film, television and commercial production companies spending $ 75,000 or more in Maine may take advantage of the Maine Visual Media Incentive Plan.
• Receive tax rebates equal to 12 per cent of qualified wages paid to Maine residents working on a certified production and 10 per cent of non-resident wages. Qualified wages capped at $ 50,000 per person.
• Claim non-refundable, non-transferable tax credits equal to 5 per cent of the non-wage production expenses. Credits not to exceed the Maine taxes owed by the production company.
• Purchase fuel and electricity for productions and avoid almost all State energy taxes
• Hotel/motel accommodations for cast and crew without paying State lodging tax if the stay is 28 days or more.
• No location fees for qualified productions filming on State land.
• Set up production offices using office furniture and equipment from State surplus.
Additional Available Exemptions
All manufacturers in Maine are eligible for certain sales tax exemptions. Media productions that qualify as manufacturers, for example, maybe eligible to make sales tax exempt purchases of production related products.
Maine Fuel and Electricity Sales-Tax Exemptions
Companies creating film, TV, video and new-media projects in Maine can be exempted from paying taxes on most fuel and electricity used for the production.
Long-Term Lodging Tax Reimbursement Programme
Lodging taxes are reimbursed for stays of more than 28 consecutive days and are exempted for any additional consecutive stay.
Maine also provides non-tax incentives to productions. Those incentives include:
• Fee-Free Locations: Many of Maine’s State Parks and Lands are available fee-free. To use them, you must first get a free Special Use Permit.
• Maine Surplus Property Plan: Qualified productions can borrow – free of charge – furniture and other surplus property from the State of Maine. In the past, productions have found free furniture and equipment to outfit production offices and to use as props.
Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Programme
This programme is designed to encourage equity and near-equity investments in eligible Maine businesses, directly and through private venture capital funds. Maine film office may authorise State income tax credits to investors for up to 60 per cent of the cash equity they provide to eligible Maine businesses. Investments may be used for fixed assets, research or working capital.
• Businesses located in Maine.
• Investors must collectively own less than an aggregate of 50 per cent of the business
• Principal owners and their immediate relatives are not eligible
• Annual gross sales of less than $ 3 million
• Business must either: 1) be a manufacturer; 2) provide goods or services with 60 per cent of sales derived from outside the State or to out-of-State residents; 3) develop or apply advanced technologies; 4) bring significant permanent capital into the State
• Tax credits equal to 40 per cent of the investment (60 per cent for investments made in businesses located in high unemployment areas
• An investor may provide up to
$ 500,000 per business
• Aggregate investment limit per business is $ 5 million for which tax credit may be received
• Investments must be at risk for five years
• Credits must be taken in increments of 25 per cent (of the credit) per year commencing in the year of the investment. Credits used cannot exceed 50 per cent of the total tax due by the investor for that taxable year before application of the tax credit.