What does ABS’ cast and crew payroll services include?

As an entertainment payroll company, we have the expertise and industry-specific knowledge that you won’t find with your average payroll provider. As the employer-of-record for your production, ABS will handle:

  • Making accurate employee tax withholdings in all States
  • Remitting and reporting all employee and employer payroll taxes
  • Workers’ compensation insurance coverage
  • Year-end wage reporting: sending W-2’s for employee and W-9’s for loan-outs
  • Compliance with all state and federal wage laws
  • Unemployment and worker’s compensation claims management
  • Specialized deductions, including Coogan account and employee benefit contributions
  • Union pension, health & welfare contributions and reporting
  • Compliance with all major Unions and agreements (SAG-AFTRA, DGA, WGA, IATSE, Teamsters)

Does ABS pay independent contractors?

ABS does not pay independent contractors, as most workers should be classified as employees. It is also important to keep in mind that all major cast and crew unions require their members to be processed with proper tax withholdings and employee benefits provided, rather than being paid as independent contractors. States generally have their own strict guidelines regarding employee vs independent contractor classification, and you should always seek advice from a professional if you’re uncertain of your workers’ classification.

Does ABS pay loan-outs?

Yes, ABS can make payments to your cast or crew members with active loan-out companies. Required paperwork includes a completed W-9 form and the articles of incorporation for the company. Some States may require additional paperwork or filings—please contact your ABS representative with any questions regarding loan-out payments.

How long will it take to process payroll?

Factors such as the size and pay frequency of the payroll can play a determining role, but typically 24 – 48 hours from the time of cast and crew payroll submission should be expected for payroll to be processed. The best way to ensure a fast turnaround is to make sure all necessary employee paperwork is filled out properly and turned in on-time. If you have any questions regarding paperwork completion or submission, contact your payroll coordinator for assistance.

What are Coogan accounts?

Coogan accounts, UGMA/UTMA, and other types of Blocked Trust accounts are special bank accounts for minors working in the entertainment industry. Some States require 15% of minors’ earnings to go into their Blocked Trust account, which can then be accessed by the minor once they turn 18. Currently, States that require a Coogan or similar account for minors are California, New York, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

What is the SAG scale or SAG rate for my project?

SAG-AFTRA has different signatory agreements based on budget size and the type of production, and each agreement has its own rates. While it’s always best to contact SAG directly to find out your production’s agreement, here is a brief overview of the common agreements and basic SAG rates:

SAG Short Project Agreement (SPA): Maximum budget of $50,000, maximum running time of 40 minutes

  • Minimum $125.00 daily rate for performers, excluding stunt coordinators.
  • Performer compensation can be deferred.

SAG Ultra Low Budget Project Agreement (UPA): Maximum budget of $300,000

  • Minimum $206.00 daily rate for performers, excluding stunt performers/coordinators.

SAG Moderate Low Budget Agreement (MPA): Maximum budget of $700,000 ($950,000 with the diversity in casting incentive)

  • Minimum $360.00 daily rate for performers, excluding stunt performers.
  • Minimum $1,251.00 weekly rate (5-day week) for performers, excluding stunt performers/coordinators.

SAG Low Budget (LB): Maximum Budget $2,000,000 ($3,000,000 with the diversity in casting incentive)

  • Minimum $669.00 daily rate for performers, excluding stunt performers/coordinators.
  • Minimum $2,323.00 weekly rate for performers, excluding stunt performers/coordinators.

Basic Theatrical & Television (BA): Budgets over $2,000,000,  international features, and most documentaries.

  • Minimum $1,030.00 daily rate for performers & Stunt performers/coordinators.
  • Minimum $3,575.00 weekly rate for performers
  • Minimum $3,8400.00 weekly rate for stunt performers/coordinators

SAG New Media: This contract is for productions whose initial exhibition will be via internet, mobile devices, or similar emerging media outlets.

  • Under $50,000: no minimum rates apply; pay is negotiable between the producer and performers as long as the contract is in compliance with all State and Federal laws (including minimum wage).
  • Over $50,000: budget brackets and scale follow the theatrical tiers outlined above.