Louisiana, also known as the Bayou State and the Pelican State, very well might be the keystone of the Gulf Coast region. With a cultural and geographic milieu as hearty as a Big Easy bowl of gumbo, the state is a favorite destination of tourists from all over the world. 

In recent years, Louisiana has also emerged as a prime destination for filmmakers, due to its rich cultural heritage, unique landscapes, and lucrative film tax credit program. 

In this guide, we'll explore the essentials of Louisiana film tax credits, answering your burning questions about eligibility, benefits, and which key expenditures qualify for those lucrative incentives. Let’s dive into the vibrant world of filmmaking in the Pelican State! 

Wrapbook’s Production Incentive Center

Before we explore the depth of the Louisiana film tax credit, we invite you to check out the comprehensive resources available at Wrapbook's Production Incentive Center. This platform simplifies the complexity of film incentives, making Louisiana tax credit film opportunities more accessible to filmmakers across the globe.

With the State Incentive Map you can easily navigate incentive options across the country. The Incentive Comparison Tool allows you to compare film tax incentives from different states side-by-side. And with the AI Incentives Expert, you can learn about the latest legislation and get clear explanations on how to make various state incentives work for you.

While Wrapbook can help you learn about incentives across the country, in this article  we will focus specifically on the Louisiana film tax credit.

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Why Louisiana?

Louisiana's diverse culture, iconic landscapes, and historic cities make it a filmmaker's haven. Productions filmed in Louisiana include features such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Jurassic World Dominion and television series like True Blood and Treme.

Making the Most of Louisiana Film Tax Credits - Wrapbook - Bayou
The Bayou State is home to unique and majestic natural beauty.

More than just a backdrop, Louisiana enriches every frame, visually and financially. Supported by the Louisiana tax credit, films produced in the Bayou State can receive generous subsidies in the form of Louisiana film tax incentives. These incentives help position the state as a top filming destination.

How Louisiana film tax incentives came to be

The Louisiana film production tax incentive was introduced in 2002 to spur economic growth and help the Pelican State compete with other top film-producing states,as well as the generous film tax incentives offered by countries such asCanada.

In the decades since, the Louisiana film tax credit has evolved into one of the most attractive incentives in the country with benefits to boost local, domestic, and international productions.

What are Louisiana film tax credits?

At the center of the Louisiana film tax incentive program is a partially refundable film tax credit of 25%–45%. That may sound like a large range, and it is. We will break down what expenditures qualify and how you can maximize the Louisiana film tax credit in just a bit. 

But first, what is a partially refundable film tax credit, and how does it differ from a fully refundable tax credit or a film tax rebate?

Good question! Partially refundable tax credits, as opposed to fully refundable tax credits, mean productions will only get back a portion of their tax credit equal to their in-state tax liability. 

In other words, if a production does not use the full value of their Louisiana film tax credit, the state of Louisiana can buy back motion picture investor tax credits for 90% of the credit’s value. With fully refundable tax credits, the state commits to reimbursing production companies for the full amount of their tax credit.

It’s also worth noting that there is a 2% Louisiana Economic Development fee required before the state makes a tax credit film transfer back to the production company’s designee.

To be eligible for the Louisiana tax credit, films must spend at least $300,000 in state on qualifying production expenses.

Louisiana also has a project cap of $20,000,000 for state-certified features, meaning that productions falling into category are only eligible for up to $20,000,000 in Louisiana film tax credits. State-certified scripted episodic productions may be granted up to $25,000,000 per season

However, no project can receive a credit that exceeds 40% of their overall in-state investment.

Finally, the Louisiana film tax credit program has a funding cap of $150,000,000 per fiscal year. 

Of the $150,000,000 annual funding cap: $7,500,000 is reserved for Qualified Entertainment Companies; $7,500,000 is reserved for Louisiana screenplay productions; $15,000,000 is reserved for independent film productions; $120,000,000 is unreserved and may be applied to any size production.

While the maximum amount of credits that can be issued each year is $150,000,000, the maximum amount of credits that can be claimed each fiscal year is $180,000,000.

So, in summary, with a tax credit of up to 45% back on eligible in-state expenditures, the Louisiana film tax credit is exceptionally appealing for producers. Whether it’s a blockbuster or an indie project, the incentive makes Louisiana an economical choice for productions.

In addition to the main Louisiana tax credit, films can also receive local film tax incentives like those offered by Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard Parish, and Shreveport (in Louisiana, counties are called parishes). 

What is the Jefferson Parish film tax incentive?

The Jefferson Parish film tax incentive is a localized program designed to attract film productions to this vibrant area just outside of New Orleans. 

Jefferson Parish offers a 3% rebate on production expenses incurred in the parish and above-the-line Jefferson Parish resident payroll with a minimum spend requirement of $150,000 in Jefferson Parish spend.

Known for its unique blend of urban and suburban environments, Jefferson Parish offers filmmakers a diverse range of shooting locations, making it an attractive option for those looking to maximize their budget while filming in one of Louisiana’s most dynamic regions.

For more on the Jefferson Parish film tax incentive, check out Wrapbook’s Production Incentive Center.

What is the St. Bernard Parish film tax incentive?

St. Bernard Parish, located southeast of New Orleans, offers its own film tax incentive to encourage productions to utilize the parish’s rich historical and natural landscapes.

St. Bernard Parish offers a 3.5% rebate on production expenses incurred in the parish and above-the-line St. Bernard Parish resident payroll with a minimum spend requirement of $150,000 in St. Bernard Parish spend.

This parish-specific incentive complements the broader Louisiana film tax credit, offering filmmakers a compelling financial package that supports both large-scale and independent productions. By filming in St. Bernard Parish productions can benefit from unique settings and significant cost savings.

For more on the St. Bernard Parish film tax rebate, check out Wrapbook’s breakdown here.

What is the Shreveport film tax incentive?

The Shreveport film tax incentive is tailored to draw film and television productions to this bustling city in northwest Louisiana. 

Shreveport offers a 2.5% rebate on production expenses incurred in the city with a minimum spend requirement of $300,000 in Shreveport spend.

Known for its cultural vibrancy and architectural charm, Shreveport provides filmmakers a variety of urban and scenic backdrops. By leveraging the Shreveport incentive, productions can enjoy substantial financial benefits while filming in a city that has become a popular hub for the film industry in Louisiana.

For more information on the Shreveport film tax rebate, check out Wrapbook’s guide here

What is the Louisiana Screenplay Production film tax credit?

The Louisiana Screenplay Production film tax credit mirrors the Louisiana film tax incentive, but has a lower minimum spend ($50,000) requirement and provides an additional 10% bonus.

This credit is aimed at fostering local talent and encouraging the growth of Louisiana’s local film industry. Productions that focus on screenplays written by Louisiana residents or meet state-mandated requirements can qualify for additional financial benefits. 

The Louisiana Screenplay Production film tax credit is a partially refundable film tax credit that offers 25%–50% back on eligible expenses ranging from production spend to cast and crew payroll, to screenplay development and production, thereby reducing overall costs and promoting the creation of unique, locally-sourced content.

This credit not only supports filmmakers but also enhances the cultural representation of Louisiana in the film industry. For more on the Louisiana Screenplay Production film tax credit check out Wrapbook’s guide here

Who qualifies for Louisiana film tax incentives?

Eligibility for the Louisiana film tax credit extends to a wide array of productions, including:

  • Feature film
  • Animation
  • Commercials
  • Documentaries
  • Game shows
  • Industrials
  • Interactive
  • Music videos
  • Post production
  • Reality TV
  • Scripted TV
  • Soundtrack
  • Visual effects

Ensuring a broad range of productions can benefit from the Louisiana tax credit film programs.

What expenditures qualify for Louisiana film production tax incentives?

Qualifying expenditures for Louisiana film tax credits include everything from cast and crew expenses to on-the-ground spending on set construction and equipment rentals. 

Qualified expenditures can be broken down into three main categories:

Cast and crew

The first, and often largest, portion of production expenditures include cast and crew payroll.

Louisiana allocates tax credits for cast and crew expenses based on whether or not the cast and crew members are Louisiana state residents. The breakdown is as follows:


Productions that receive Louisiana film tax credits can get a 40%–45% credit for each resident, both above-the-line and below-the-line, that the production employs. 

This means that the production will receive back 40%45% of all in-state payments made to each cast and crew resident in the form of a tax credit after filing a Louisiana state tax return.


Productions will also receive a 25%–30% tax credit for every above-the-line and below-the-line nonresident they employ.

Qualifying payroll expenditures for all cast and crew are capped at $3,000,000 per individual, meaning that only the first $3 million paid to each cast and crew member qualifies for the tax credit—so if your production will be forking over tens of millions to a big name star, keep in mind that not all of those payments will qualify for the credit. 

Additionally, payroll expenditures for above-the-line salaries are capped at 40% of total production expenditures in the state for each project. Above-the-line salaries that are related party transactions cannot exceed 12% of the in-state spend.

Physical production expenses

In addition to cast and crew payroll credits, Louisiana offers a generous production spend tax credit equal to 25%–30% of every dollar spent on physical goods purchased in state from local vendors.

Whether you’re renting equipment, building sets, paying for crafty, or managing any of the many and varied other production costs that come up over the course of a shoot, the physical spend rebate is a powerful tool that will make sure you see money back.


Finally, you may be asking why all of these tax credits include a 5% range. That’s because Louisiana offers a bonus for state-certified productions that have their production office and at least 60% of principal photography occurring outside of the New Orleans Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The Louisiana tax credit film out-of-zone bonus provides a 5% bump to qualifying productions that take advantage of the Pelican State’s incredible rural geographic diversity. This is a blanket bonus for all in-state expenses as long as the criteria is met.

Making the Most of Louisiana Film Tax Credits - Wrapbook - New Orleans
While New Orleans has its distinct flair and charm, you can save money by filming outside the New Orleans Metro Area.

For reference, the following parishes are within the New Orleans Metro Area:

  • Jefferson Parish
  • Orleans Parish 
  • Plaquemines Parish
  • St. Bernard Parish
  • St. Charles Parish
  • St. James Parish
  • St. Tammany Parish

And as we mentioned earlier, Jefferson and St. Bernard Parish both have their own film tax credit.

All other parishes, including St. John the Baptist Parish, qualify for the out-of-zone bonus.

Wrapbook’s Film Incentive expert Ryan Broussard considers Louisiana’s out-of-zone bonus to be one of the most valuable bonuses out there because it is “a blanket bonus,” meaning the bonus applies to all production expenses incurred anywhere in the state so long as you meet the minimum criteria of the bonus. 

Maximizing all of these expenditures—payroll, production spend, and the out-of-zone bonus—can significantly reduce your overall production budget through the Louisiana film production tax incentive.

What are the requirements for Louisiana film tax incentives?

Understanding and qualifying for film tax incentives can be difficult, but knowing the requirements for Louisiana is essential for productions looking to benefit from the state's generous support. 

To qualify, productions must meet several criteria designed to promote in-state spending, diversity, safety, and compliance with state laws.

First and foremost, productions must spend at least $300,000 in Louisiana to qualify, as we covered earlier. Bundling multiple productions to hit the $300,000 spend requirement is possible under certain conditions. 

To get the full 40% on Louisiana resident payroll (that’s 40% before the out-of-zone bonus), residency forms are required. Payments to artists’ loan-out companies are ineligible for this resident increase and a 4.25% state tax withholding is required for all loan-outs.

In order to be designated a state-certified production, projects must participate in a career-based learning and training program approved by Louisiana Economic Development.

How to apply for Louisiana film tax incentives

In order to apply for a Louisiana tax credit, films must follow a straightforward process, as detailed by the Louisiana Film Office. Ensuring accurate documentation and adherence to guidelines is key to successfully claiming any incentive.

Productions must submit an online application that includes:

  • a detailed preliminary budget (including all hires)
  • a detailed preliminary Louisiana budget
  • a detailed distribution plan
  • a script or synopsis
  • a statement that the project meets the definition of a state-certified production
  • a notarized statement agreeing to pay all vendors
  • disclosure of any anticipated related-party transactions

The fee for filing an application shall be equal to 0.5% of the amount of the incentives or exempted taxes with a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $15,000.

Making the Most of Louisiana Film Tax Credits - Wrapbook - Louisiana
Louisiana, a Gulf Coast filmmaker’s paradise.

At the time of the application, the applicant shall submit a deposit of the production expenditure verification report fee. For productions with budgets under $25,000,000, an advance deposit of $7,500 is required with a possible maximum fee of $15,000. For productions with budgets over $25,000,000, an advance deposit of $15,000 is required with a possible maximum fee of $25,000.

Wrapping up

Louisiana's commitment to nurturing film projects, coupled with its competitive 25%–40% tax credit, sets the stage for filmmakers to unlock substantial savings and create cinematic masterpieces in the Pelican State.

To further empower your production with the financial advantages of Louisiana film tax credits, we encourage you to explore Wrapbook’s Production Incentive Center, compare film tax incentives offered by various states, and find the film tax incentive program that’s right for your next production.

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Last Updated 
June 10, 2024


At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
Tom Waddick

Tom is a filmmaker, producer, and marketing specialist based in Los Angeles.

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