UK video games tax breaks – who qualifies?

At long, long last UK video games tax breaks are upon us, but who is it precisely that qualifies?

The draft legislation calls the relief a ‘tax relief for video game development’. The legislation does not define the term ‘video game’ and the intention behind this was to avoid including a definition that might not keep up with developments in the industry,” UKIE says.

In principle therefore, the relief will apply to any kind of game for any platform, including mobile and tablet.”

Tax relief can be claimed by any company (although not an individual or partnership) responsible for design, production and testing of an eligible game or even those merely involved in the negotiations, payments or supply or services to those involved in such processes.

However, there can only be one claimant per game, but there’s nothing to stop companies claiming on multiple titles.

Eligible games must have been intended for release to the public (although this does not mean relief will have to be repaid should development be cancelled or the game not be released for a legitimate reason) and there must be a minimum of 25 per cent of the core expenditure in the UK.

What must also be met are the cultural tests, which have not yet been completely nailed down. However, right now they read as follows:

a) The percentage of the game that is set in the UK or another country in the EEA.
b) The number of characters in the game that are from the UK or another country in the EEA.
c) Whether the game is based on a British story of a story relating to another country in the EEA.
d) The percentage of the dialogue that is in English or another regional or minority language.
e) The level of contribution of the game to ‘the promotion, development or enhancement of British culture’.
f) The amount of work done in the UK.
g) Whether the lead people involved in the making of the game are citizens of or ordinarily resident in the EEA.

Tax relief of 25 per cent will be available to those who meet all the criteria.

UKIE has made available a document detailing everything you need to know right here.

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