Understanding fringes

What are fringes?

a. What bangs are called in the UK?

b. Reference to the fabric hanging down off the top of a carriage as showcased in the catchy tune from the musical “Oklahoma,”…“The surrey with the fringe on top”?

c. Taxes and additional fees associated with a person’s rate? 

Trick question…all the answers are correct, but the one we are talking about in regards to film/TV accounting is C.  Taxes and additional fees associated with a person’s rate.  Mainly thought of as the “employers tax” including any contributions that are required by Unions and Guilds for their members employed on a project. 

Normally fringes are coded in one of three ways:

1. Using the category prefix and ending in 99.  Example:  Coding for fringes for all grip department labor would be 2499. (used most often).

2. Coding to the production level.  Example:  All the Above-The-Line fringe is coded together and all the Below-The-Line fringe is coded together, etc…

3.  All fringes are coded to one line item.  

The following are some of the more common fringe items:

  • Federal Taxes:  Taxes assigned to all crew, regardless of where you shoot.

FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax Act): A levied tax to cover and help augment local state Unemployment Insurance.

FICA 1: Social Security taxation.

FICA 2 (Medicare):  Payment forward for health coverage for those 65 years old and above.

  • State Taxes:  These vary from state to state.

SUI (State Unemployment Insurance):  Payment made to the person's individual SUI account.  ***Paid to the individuals WORK state. 

  • Payroll Fees:  Cost for the payroll company's services.  Could vary anywhere from 1% to 5%.  There are also different fees for loan-out crew and above-the-line employees.
  • Workers' Compensation Insurance: a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee's right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence.
  • Pension, Health & Welfare (PH&W):  PH&W are only used on union projects.  The benefit rates will depend upon the specific union contracts signed for the project. 

Just a note on fringes:

Caps:  This is the top end of pay which the production is required to pay fringes.

            Example:  The current FUTA rate is 0.6% of earning up to a $7,000 ceiling.  Once the person makes more than $7,000 the production is no longer required to pay that fringe/tax.