Mass. tax credits used to cover movie stars’ wages

BOSTON (AP) — A quarter of the tax breaks given to movie companies under Massachusetts’ film tax credit program have gone to help cover the salaries of Hollywood stars.

An Associated Press review of a Department of Revenue report on the program found that $82 million of the $330 million in film spending eligible for the tax credits in 2009 went to help cover the salaries of nonresident actors earning more than $1 million.

The program allows filmmakers to apply for a tax credit equal to 25 percent of a movie’s production and payroll costs. In 2009, film companies applied for $82.4 million in credits.

Critics have complained the state shouldn’t be giving tax breaks to help filmmakers hire Hollywood stars. Supporters say virtually no feature films would be shot in Massachusetts without the program.

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