Almost half a billion pounds in UK development costs have been supported by Video Games Tax Relief since the scheme launched, the first official figures from HMRC have revealed.
VGTR was introduced in April 2014 after years of campaigning by the UK games industry. Games are required to pass a test proving their British ‘culture’ – whether that be in-game content or the heritage of the studio – in order to receive final certification.
135 claims for VGTR have been recorded since the initiative began, resulting in UK expenditure of £417 million.
In 2015/16 alone, 130 claims were made, with the government paying out £45.4 million in relief. Since VGTR started, 140 claims have been issued, totalling £45.9 million. The mismatch in the numbers is due to some claims being issued in instalments, rather than as a lump sum.
65 claims are expected to see release during the 2015/16 financial year.
In total, 515 games have applied for certification (but not necessarily gone on make a claim). Of these, 180 have been granted final certification, while 255 currently have an interim certificate. 80 have no certificate – meaning they were rejected, revoked or are still pending.
“Video Games Tax Relief is encouraging investment, employment and R&D,” commented Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley, who is also chair of industry body TIGA.
“In a post-Brexit world it will be important to retain and strengthen Video Games Tax Relief in order to attract external investment and to maintain the competitiveness of the sector. Brexit means that the UK can reform and improve Games Tax Relief.”
“Today’s figures show that Video Games Tax Relief is a key factor behind our industry’s progress and success,” added TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson.
“Theresa May, our new PM, has spoken about the need for a proper industrial strategy. Creating a favourable tax system which enables the UK to compete effectively, which attracts investment and which creates jobs is a key aspect of an industrial strategy. Video Games Tax Relief is achieving these important goals.”