7/23 UPDATE: The official text of the enrolled version of HR 4213 is now available here: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h4213enr.txt.pdf
Unfortunately, Section 181 is NOT included. So until further notice, the incentive that meant so much to so many film makers is gone. We are still hopeful that a Congressperson will re-introudce the legislation and will continue to monitor the situation, but for now, the outlook its less than great.
7/22 UPDATE: HR 4213 passed Congress and was signed by President Obama today. However, the text of the law has not been published and it is unclear if the extension of Section 181 was included. If Senator Reid’s amendment replaced HR 4213 in its entirety, Section has not been extended. As always, stay tuned.
7/21 UPDATE: Yesterday, July 20, 2010, the Senate had a Cloture Vote on whether or not to move forward on HR 4213, the Unemployment Bill which includes an extension of 181. The Senate needed a 60-40 vote to move forward and, thankfully, it got it! So, hopefully by the middle of next week (possibly Tuesday), there will be a final vote on HR 4213. Closure is one excruciating step closer.
As most of my film related readers know, I have been doing my best to stay on top of the renewal/extension process of Section 181 (just search my past posts). Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, there is nothing real or solid to report other than the fact that the federal tax incentive for films produced in the United States seems to be lost in legislative oblivion. When HR 4213 passed both the House and the Senate, I thought we were home free. Yet, due to the fact that the incentive was grouped with unemployment benefits (a rather hot topic in politics these days) and other high profile tax credits, Congress debated, modified, an altered HR 4213 so much that it had to go back to committee. Now, more than six months after it officially expired, Section 181 is still stuck in limbo.
Senators who promised a quick resolution and renewal of 181 have all but shut up at this point (see this post for the empty promise from Reid and Baucus). According to the office of the biggest supporters of Section 181 and a Representative who actually introduced legislation to extend 181, Representative Diane Watson, the extension is not any closer to being approved. Officially, the bill, which has passed both the House and the Senate, is back in committee to “work out the differences between the versions of the bill which passed both houses” (according to www.govtrack.us). The question is, when will a government who is struggling to agree to anything finally agree to deal with additional tax incentives or credits?
So what are film makers to do? The film makers we at L4M represent are keeping their books as if Section 181 will eventually be renewed. Yet, to the potential investors, we cannot advise and do not include promises of federal incentives. We continue to work with State offices to capitalize on the best State tax credits while continuing to keep an eye (a sleepy, tired eye) on 181.