Sound Recording Tax Credit
Candlebox at Blade Studios, Shreveport
Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit

Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit

Not all changes effective July 1, 2017 are reflected below. Please check again, as updates are ongoing. 

The Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit provides an 18% tax credit for sound recording projects made in the State of Louisiana. Louisiana also offers some of the world's finest talent and great recording studios to complement the attractive financial benefits of recording in state. Sound recording investor tax credits are issued as rebates.

  • Provides an 18% tax credit on sound recording expenses.
  • Program is subject to a cap of $2.16 million between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2018.
  • Starting July 1, 2018, program is subject to a cap of $3 million in tax credits per calendar year.


The program incentivizes sound recording, defined as a recording of music, poetry or spoken-word performance made in Louisiana and produced in Louisiana in whole or in part. A $15,000 minimum in expenditures is required, with a $5,000 minimum expenditure requirement for Louisiana residents.

Qualifying sound recordings include:

  • Recording, tracking and overdubbing of music and vocal performances
  • Recording of film scores
  • Recording of spoken word performance
  • Recording of live musical performances

Eligible expenditures:

  • Studio rental fees and associated fixed costs
  • Artist and musician salaries directly related to a certified recording project
  • Producer fees directly related to a certified recording project
  • Mixing and mastering of a recording made in whole or in part in the State of Louisiana
  • Instrument and equipment rental
  • Hotel, airfare (when booked through a Louisiana Travel Agent), and catering expenditures directly related to a certified recording project

Non-eligible expenditures:

  • Mixing, mastering or any post-production expenditures for projects not originally recorded in Louisiana are considered non qualifying
  • Producer fees in excess of 20% of the entire project budget are considered non-qualifying
  • Studio rental fees may be limited if they are found to be in excess of fair market value
  • Expenditures associated with related party transactions may be limited as detailed in cost report guidelines
  • All costs associated with duplication, packaging, marketing and distribution are non-qualifying

Program Rules: 

All incentive program rules are in the Louisiana Administrative Code maintained by the Office of the State Register.

Getting Started

Download helpful tips and instructions on applying and completing the form.
Download Application.

Next Steps

Initial Certification (60-90 business days)

1.Complete and submit the application and fee in its entirety to Louisiana Entertainment. Projects under $50,000 are not subject to an application fee.

2. Once the application is complete, the project is evaluated for eligibility. For projects initially certified after February 1, 2011, applicants to the sound recording production program must provide detailed accounting and verification of expenditures relating to All-In Producer Deals. Please refer to the producer fee policy notice.

3. If Louisiana Entertainment determines that the project meets eligibility requirements of the statute and program rules, Louisiana Entertainment issues an Initial Certification for that project.

4. The applicant signs the Initial Certification letter and returns it to Louisiana Entertainment.

5. Effective January 1, 2016, a deposit shall be remitted to Louisiana Entertainment for the verification report fee. At the time of application, the applicant shall be required to submit a deposit of the expenditure verification report fee of $2,500 for a production or project with qualified expenditures projected to be between $5,000 and $50,000, and a deposit of $5,000 for those projected to be in excess of $50,000. 

The applicant will be assessed the department's actual cost for the expenditure verification report fee. The maximum fee shall be $5,000 for verification of a cost report of production or project expenditures reflecting expenditures of between $5,000 and $50,000, and the maximum fee shall be $15,000 for verification of a cost report reflecting expenditures in excess of $50,000. 

Final Certification (60-90 business days)

1. For projects completed prior to January 1, 2016, the applicant must submit a cost report to Louisiana Entertainment along with a CPA Certification form, both prepared by an independent Louisiana CPA. View cost report/audit guidelines.

2. For projects initially certified after June 30, 2015 or projects completed after January 1, 2016, the applicant must submit to Louisiana Entertainment a cost report prepared by an independent CPA engaged with LED to perform the cost report. 

3. If the project's expenditures are $50,000 or more, the applicant must provide an audited cost report. Guidelines for the cost report are included in the Initial Certification letter. Effective January 1, 2016, LED shall engage with the CPA to perform the cost report. 

4. Invoices and proof of payment for expenditures may be requested. NOTE: For projects initially certified after February 1, 2011, applicants to the sound recording investor tax credit program must provide detailed accounting and verification of expenditures relating to All-In Producer Deals.

5. Upon receiving the cost report/audit, Louisiana Entertainment reviews the report and may request additional supporting documentation.

6. After all supporting documentation is received and approved, Louisiana Entertainment issues a Final Certification letter, confirming the certified amount that was spent in state and the certified amount of the tax credit the applicant will receive as a rebate.

Issuance of Tax Credit (30-45 business days)

1. Upon Final Certification, Louisiana Entertainment submits the Final Certification letter to the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) on behalf of the investor who earned the tax credit.

2. LDR may require the investor to submit additional information.

3. LDR issues tax credit to investor as a rebate.

Eligibility Scenarios

Q: The Rolling Stones are recording a new album in London, New York and New Orleans. Does this project qualify?
A: Partially. The expenditures made in Louisiana would qualify, but the expenditures made in London and New York would not.

Q: The Rolling Stones recorded a new album in London and New York and are spending a month in New Orleans mixing and mastering the album. Does this project qualify?
A: NO. Mixing and mastering costs only qualify if the work is performed on a recording originally made in Louisiana.

Q: I am considering building a new recording studio in Louisiana. Does the sound recording investor tax credit apply to my project?
A: NO.


Q: How does this benefit my recording studio?
A: If you are a studio owner, you can market the tax credit as an incentive for talent to come to Louisiana or stay in Louisiana to record their album. They will get the tax credit, but you will get the business because the talent can get an up to 25% return on their investment.

Q: What is the monetary value of the tax credit?
A: The tax credit is up to 18% of the base investment and is issued as a rebate. A rebate is a direct payment to the applicant from the Louisiana Department of Revenue. It is not necessary to establish taxable liability with Louisiana Department of Revenue to receive the rebate, but an applicant must have a Louisiana Tax ID in order to receive the rebate.

Q: What is considered as base investment for the purposes of computing the tax credit?
A: Base investment is money spent in Louisiana that is directly related to the sound recording production project.

Q: What does and does not qualify for the sound recording investor tax credit?
A: The only expenses that will qualify for the tax credit are those that are directly related to the production of a sound recording. For a production, qualifying expenses include, but are not limited to: travel (if purchased through a Louisiana travel agent), studio rental and fees, producer fee, composer fee, musicians' fees, and any other costs directly related to production. Non-qualifying expenses include, but are not limited to: distribution, marketing, promotion, advertising, expenses incurred but not paid, expenses paid to a business that is not located in the State of Louisiana, and any costs not directly related to the production.

Q: What is a distribution plan?
A: A distribution plan will illustrate how an applicant plans to distribute a sound recording once it is finished. The distribution plan needs to be as detailed as possible. Will it go on sale at stores, over the Internet, through a distribution company, etc.?

Q: What is a preliminary budget?
A: The preliminary budget should outline the anticipated sound recording production expenditures for the project.

Q: What is a complete application?
A: A complete application is one that is filled out entirely with all supporting documentation and requested information and is submitted to Louisiana Entertainment. Only complete applications will be able to proceed with the certification process.

Q: Will I need to hire a CPA?
A: YES. State law requires that projects that apply or submit a request for final certification on or after January 1, 2016, shall be required to use a CPA selected by LED. Any project that is currently initially certified or that will apply on or before January 1, 2016 may: 

  1. engage a CPA of their choice and submit a cost report prepared by the CPA with their request for final certification on or before December 31, 2015, or 
  2. elect to use a CPA assigned by LED, but must submit the advance deposit upon making this request. 

Q: What is the maximum tax credit amount my project can receive? 
A: While there is no per-project cap for the sound recording investor tax credit, the program is capped at $2.16 million per year and the tax credits are granted on a first come, first served basis; effective July 1, 2018, the cap will be $3 million per year.

Q: Can this incentive be used in combination with other LED incentives? 
A: LED has many business incentives, some of which may be combined with the sound recording investor tax credit. Claiming identical expenditures for more than one LED incentive program is prohibited.

Q: I started spending money in Louisiana before I received an Initial Certification. Can I still claim what I have spent? 
A: YES. As long as a company can claim their first expenditure on a project 12 months prior to the date their project is approved (initially certified) for the program.

Q: Is there an application fee? 
A: YES. Effective July 1, 2015, an application fee of 0.005 x proposed tax benefit will be assessed to an applicant. The minimum fee is $500 and the maximum fee is $15,000. Projects under $50,000 are not subject to the fee. 

Q: When will I know if my project qualifies? 
A: As soon as we have had a chance to review and clear up any outstanding issues in the application (which we strive to complete as quickly as possible), we issue an Initial Certification that acknowledges a project's applicable expenditures based on those proposed in the application.

Q: When do I receive my tax credit? 
A: Tax credits are issued as rebates following a project's Final Certification.