State identifies tax credit recipients
WGBH receives $4.2m in film tax credits
The state for the very first time is identifying by name the recipients of eight state tax credits, allowing the public to see which businesses taxpayers are subsidizing.
The report identifies the recipients of approximately $170 million in tax credits issued or awarded in 2011. The three biggest tax credit programs were those for historic rehabilitation (nearly $50 million), brownfields remediation ($47 million), and film and commercial production ($37.9 million).
As expected, the producers of major feature films pocketed a large amount of the film tax credits handed out last year to lure movies and commercials to Massachusetts. The top three recipients were Columbia Pictures (Here Comes The Boom/$11.6 million), Thunder Buddies LLC (Ted/$9 million), and Number Productions Inc. (What’s Your Number?/$5.4 million), which together accounted for 69 percent of the total film tax credits issued.
Some of the film tax credit money went to support WGBH productions that would have been shot in Massachusetts anyway, but station officials say the tax credits allowed them to produce more shows in Massachusetts and do more filming inside the state.
“It’s terrific for us because finding funding to do what we do is very hard to do,” said Jeanne Hopkins, WGBH’s vice president for communications.
Hopkins said the availability of film tax credits prompted the station to do more filming in Massachusetts for such shows as Between the Lions and Design Squad and allowed officials to launch High School Quiz Show. “Without the tax credits, we wouldn’t be able to do that show,” she said.
At least 45 commercials and public service announcements were produced in Massachusetts, triggering more than $1.9 million in film tax credits. Three production companies (Redtree Productions and Allen Roche of Boston and Picture Park of Somerville) produced 31 of the commercials for credits worth $1.5 million. Clients included Ocean Spray, Rockland Trust, Webster Bank, Timberland, Eastern Bank, several Bay State auto dealerships, and the Connecticut Lottery.The film tax credit offers companies shooting movies, TV shows, and commercials in Massachusetts a credit equal to 25 percent of whatever they spend inside the state. The credit is very attractive because it can be converted into cash by selling it back to the state or to a third party, which can use the credit to reduce its tax liability.
The state report also identifies the recipients of historic rehabilitation, low-income housing, brownfields, dairy farmer, medical device, and life sciences tax credits. The recipients of historic rehabilitation and life science tax credits have previously been disclosed, but the names of the beneficiaries of other tax credit programs have been shielded for years by state officials who viewed the information as confidential tax information. The information was ordered released under legislation passed in 2010.The brownfields credit, which offers a tax credit for up to 50 percent of the cost of remediating a hazardous waste site on property in an economically distressed area, was awarded to developers of a number of high-end properties.
Partners HealthCare received a total of $8.4 million in credits for two projects at undisclosed locations. Clarendon Street Associates received $6.4 million in tax credits, apparently for a luxury condo and apartment tower built next to the Hancock building. Millenium Partners, developer of the Ritz Carlton tower, received $3.7 million, apparently for a project at 1 Charles St. The company that built the Intercontinental Hotel received $2 million in brownfield tax credits, according to the report.