Last year reports emerged of Rockstar North claiming £42 million in tax relief, with the same report from Tax Watch UK claiming that they nabbed 19% of all total relief in the UK games industry, and now Tax Watch UK is back with another report focusing on Rockstar, saying that the company made the largest claim for reliefs made, accounting for 37% of total claims across England's games industry.
"It can't have been the intention of the government in setting up the scheme to spend vast amounts of the VGTR budget on one, vastly profitable company," said George Turner, director of Taxwatch UK. "The evidence is now clear that there is an urgent case for reforming VGTR."
"This is clear because the company has not registered any other games as being 'Culturally British', the pre-requisite required to qualify for the relief, since GTA 5. Studios are able to make interim claims for VGTR before a game is completed, and the huge claims being put in by Rockstar are likely related to the production costs of GTA 6. As VGTR is related to production spend, the large claim indicates the scale of Rockstar's next release, which is likely to cost far more than the $137m spent on GTA 5."
The same report adds that the company has been given £80 million via the program and that they've not paid corporate tax in four years, and Rockstar has since issued a response to the story to VG247:
"The UK's program to support the growth of a broad range of creative industries through tax relief is a proven success. The program has directly resulted in Rockstar Games significantly increasing its investment in the UK, creating well over 1,000 highly skilled and long term jobs across London, Lincoln, Yorkshire and Scotland."
"This investment and the success of British video games supported by the program not only significantly contributes to the economy, and to UK tax receipts, but also helps solidify the UK's position at the forefront of video game development well into the future."
Even UKIE, the trade body for the UK's games and interactive entertainment industry, issued a statement as well, defending the program.
"Video Game Tax Relief (VGTR) is a forward thinking policy that shows the UK understands the significance of games as a leading creative industry. We know that VGTR delivers a great return on investment for the taxpayer. For every £1 invested into the games industry via VGTR, it pays back £4 in gross value add into the economy," UKIE writes.
"But even more importantly, VGTR directly supports 4,320 high productivity full time jobs in game development roles - nearly a third of our entire development workforce - across the country."
"This helps businesses based everywhere from Dundee to Brighton to play on the global stage, while allowing local communities to benefit from great jobs fit for a digital age. The UK enjoys a global reputation for creative excellence in game development. Now is the time to continue to support an industry that drives inward investment, exports globally and provides a world beating showcase of the skills the UK has to offer."
Who do you agree with?
Loading next content