Leah Willingham Published

Bill To Reinstate W.Va. Film Tax Credit Headed To Governor

West Virginia's now-defunct film tax credit was around for ten years before being eliminated by the West Virginia Legislature in 2018. A legislative audit report found it provided "minimal economic impact" to the state.

A bill that would reinstate West Virginia’s film tax credit is now headed to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice.

Using the proposed tax credit, filmmakers could recoup up to 27 percent of spending on movies and television shows in West Virginia that cost at least $50,000 to make. The state would have no limit on the amount of film tax incentives it can give out in a year.

The program would be administered by the West Virginia Office of Economic Development. The office would have the discretion to reject any project that “negatively portrays the state of West Virginia.”

The economic development office would be required to develop a database of locations, music, and other resources available for use in film projects.

West Virginia used to have a film tax credit, but it was ended in 2018 after a legislative audit report deemed the credit as providing only “minimal economic impact.” Republican Del. Dianna Graves, the lead sponsor, said she’s spent nine months closing the loopholes in meetings with the legislative auditor and others.

The bill’s supporters say other states in the region have the tax credit and West Virginia is missing out on projects coming to the state that could bring economic development opportunities to communities.

The bill underwent several changes throughout the legislative process. Earlier versions of the bill allowed commercials to be eligible for the tax credit and put a cap on the amount of incentives that could be given out in a year. Those provisions were later cut.