Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks in Sully (2016)

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Warner Bros. Faces Tax Fraud for Equipment Costs During ‘Sully’

The company allegedly claimed a $600,000 Georgia tax credit for equipment that wasn’t used in-state.

A new investigation by Variety has revealed that Warner Bros. claimed a production tax credit in Georgia on more than $600,000 worth of airplane equipment, none of which was used in the state. The studio submitted the expenses in connection with Sully, the 2016 film directed by Clint Eastwood.

The film was shot in locations in both Goergia and California. Georgia offers a 30 percent tax credit for film production costs, reports Variety, as long as the costs are incurred in Georgia. But Variety has contracts and emails that show the items billed to the Georiga film incentive program matched expenses that were actually incurred in California. The production tried to shift expenses to Goergia by trucking a small piece of airplane fuselage to a studio in Atlanta. The cost of that item matched the cost of a mothballed Airbus A320 that was used in California, Variety writes, and the fuselage piece was not actually used in the film. However, it was claimed as a Georgia-based expense. Variety learned of the alleged tax fraud through a whistleblower source they leave anonymous. The same person reported the issue to the Georgia attorney general’s office.

“I can confirm that we opened a file and referred the matter to the Department of Revenue,” said Katie Byrd, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, to Variety. 

But a Warner Bros. spokesperson denied any wrongdoing.

“We carefully followed the rules and regulations as set forth by the state of Georgia,” the spokesperson said. “After production, we submitted our qualifying expenditures, and they were fully audited and approved without question by the Georgia Department of Revenue.”

Read the full story at Variety