Last year, an investigative think tank called Tax Watch UK released a report detailing that Rockstar North, the developers of Grand Theft Auto V, haven’t paid corporate taxes in 10 years. Tax Watch UK aims to broaden public participation in the debate on tax through research on the tax system. The report also states that the developers have claimed £42 million through the Video Game Tax Relief. Now, Tax Watch UK reports that Rockstar received £37.6 million in tax relief meant for smaller developers last year. The new report states that the developer has been granted a total of £80 million despite not paying taxes for the last four years. Rockstar Games and UKIE, the country’s game industry trade association, have responded to the new report.
Rockstar said: “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, 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.”
The UKIE stated that “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. 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 job fits 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.”