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State report on film tax credits to be late — again

For the second time in three years, the Department of Revenue has missed a statutory deadline to produce a report on the controversial film tax credit program.

Agency spokeswoman Ann Dufresne said the report — which by law was required to be released by Dec. 31 — was still being reviewed Monday.

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“We are anticipating that it will be finalized and issued in January,” Dufresne said.

The agency also waited until January to release the 2010 report, despite the deadline.

The studies have found that the film tax credits have helped increase the size of the film industry in Massachusetts, drawing many Hollywood films and creating hundreds of jobs in the industry. Advocates for the program say it also helps boost tourism, which the reports do not track.

But the Department of Revenue reports have also questioned whether the subsidies are worth the cost, since they mostly create temporary jobs, many of which are filled by out-of-state residents. According to the 2011 report, the subsidy cost an average of $142,512 per job per year for Massachusetts residents from 2005 to 2010.

Under the program, the state essentially offers to reimburse companies for up to one-quarter of all their production costs in the state (including salaries to Hollywood actors).

The DOR hasn’t always produced the reports late. It released the 2008 report in March and the 2009 one in July.

But Dufresne said the agency has recently had trouble getting detailed information from the production companies on time.

“Historically, this information continues to come in well into the next year, which has delayed getting the reports out ever since the first December deadline was set,” she said.

Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @twallack.
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