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Video Games Tax Relief (known as VGTR) offers an excellent tax relief incentive for UK video game studios, which can benefit by claiming back up to 20% of their production costs.
According to data released by HMRC in July 2018, £230m has been paid out to Video Game Development Companies (VGDCs) in response to 770 claims since the scheme began on 1st April 2014. To be eligible, the VGDC must be responsible for the majority of the planning, design, development, testing and production of the game. At least 25% of the eligible cost must have been incurred within the European Economic Area (EEA).
A key requirement for claiming VGTR is ensuring that your game is certified as a British video game by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), as administered by the British Film Institute (BFI). To become certified, you will need to complete and pass the cultural test. The test has 4 sections, and your application must score at least 16 out of 31 available points to qualify as a British video game and therefore be eligible to claim VGTR.
VGDCs can claim back 20% of their qualifying expenditure assuming the costs are incurred in the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA). For example, if the game has a qualifying expenditure of £1m all within the UK/EEA, the relief will be worth up to £200k.
Qualifying expenditure includes spending on:
There are no minimum or maximum spend thresholds, so VGTR is applicable to all qualifying VGDCs.
IF YOU ARE A UK REGISTERED COMPANY AND HAVE BEEN DEVELOPING YOUR OWN VIDEO GAME, THEN YOU WILL MORE THAN LIKELY QUALIFY FOR VIDEO GAMES TAX RELIEF.