Tax Incentives in the Gaming Industry

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1 Tax Incentives in the Gaming Industry Garry Tetley 6 September 2012

2 Overview of UK Tax Regime for Dynamic Creative Companies Favourable and improving R&D credits, Patent Box, Creative Industries Relief Low CT rate Entrepreneur s Relief Investor reliefs (EIS/Seed EIS/VCT) Enterprise Zones (100% capital allowances) Dundee announced March 2012 Employee equity incentives (EMI, etc) Grants International competitiveness The IP question 1

3 Budget announcement Introduction of corporation tax reliefs for: Animation High-end television Video games industries From April 2013, subject to State aid approval (though it is expected that video games relief will not be approved pre April and will be later into 2013) 2

4 Government s policy aims Combined aim of promoting production of cultural products and encouraging investment in the UK. Wider policy context of supporting growth in a way that is fiscally sustainable. Aim to deliver real additional investment without unnecessarily distorting behaviour or adding undue complexity to the tax system. 3

5 Consultation process Responses due by 10 September 2012, but HM Treasury keen to receive feedback as soon as possible, even if informal responses to: 4

6 Criteria for the creative sector tax reliefs Effectiveness. Affordability. Simple and straightforward to administer. Sustainable and not open to abuse. Compliance with EU State aid rules. 5

7 Adapting the film tax relief model The film tax relief model: 1) Provides relief directly to the producer 2) Gives a tax deduction for more than 100% of qualifying UK expenditure 3) Allows loss making companies to claim cash tax credits instead of an enhanced deduction 6

8 State aid process Like the film tax relief, these new reliefs will need State aid approval on cultural grounds. Must satisfy the principle that they do not affect competition and trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest in Europe. Likely to need to apply a cultural test to establish if a production is eligible on cultural grounds. Government is progressing the State aid notification of these reliefs as a matter of urgency, but nothing is guaranteed. 7

9 Cultural tests Envisaged that productions will need to pass a cultural test that is likely to be administered by DCMS. Further information on the design of the cultural test will be published for consultation in the autumn. Over the summer the Government will discuss the design of the cultural tests with the European Commission and will work with industry representatives to design suitable criteria. 8

10 What about rates? Aim: Among the most generous available in the world Similar generosity to the film tax relief Final rates are a decision for Government Ministers and will be announced in the autumn (so around December time), alongside draft legislation released for consultation. 9

11 Video games tax relief 10

12 Policy rationale The UK has an excellent track record in high-quality video games design. Significant cultural contribution and produce spill-over benefits for the wider economy. UK video games industry faces growing international competition, from Asia and North America in particular, at a time of technological change and increasing market opportunities. 11

13 Business models Through initial discussions, HMRC has recognised that the video games sector does not operate according to a single business model. Broad split between what HMRC terms product-based development models (associated with big title games) and newer, service-based models (associated with the production of mobile applications and online games). At one end, developers working on large budget games often funded by multinational publishers. At the other, developers working on lower budget games for distribution on new mediums (e.g. online or via mobile phones). The Government has stated its commitment to supporting all parts of the video games development industry and therefore is keen to design a relief that works across all business models. 12

14 Why the film tax relief model? Less clear than for high end TV and animation reliefs. Government considered alternatives, but decided they would be less effective: 1) a model structured on the existing UK research and development tax credit. 2) A model structured on the French tax credit. 13

15 Defining a video game A number of legislative definitions are used in other jurisdictions. The consultation suggests adopting a similar definition to that used under the French video games tax credit: leisure software made available to the public on a physical medium or online and incorporating elements of artistic and technological creation; the latter cover not only PC and console video games but also mobile games, on-line games for one or more players, educational or edutainment software and, provided that they incorporate sufficient interactivity and creativity, cultural CD-ROMs 14

16 Identifying core expenditure Expect that the types of expenditure allowable will be broadly similar to the film tax relief. Necessary to separate speculative expenditure from early stage expenditure. Focus is on costs of development, so proposed to exclude costs of debugging and maintenance (if there is a practical way of establishing this element of the overall costs fixed %, for example 80% development and 20% debugging HMRC will look at this). HMRC understands that most games have an end point where a game is delivered general release (i.e. it has gone gold or a gold master is produced). Film tax model is flexible enough to accommodate core expenditure incurred at a later stage point after release. The core expenditure definition in the film tax relief has the capacity to be extended to cover further development of a game. For example, where add-on packs or new content is developed. 15

17 Thresholds to entry The French video games tax credit has a threshold to entry of 150,000 of development costs. The rationale for this is to exclude games not intended for large scale marketing. The Government wants to consider whether there is a case for a threshold in the UK regime given the aim to incentivise genuine commercial activity and growth in the UK. 16

18 Comparison: Video Games relief v. R&D tax relief Video Games Relief R&D Tax SME m m m m Total income Total expenditure (inc production costs of 2m) Pre tax loss Enhanceable expenditure: (Core expenditure of 4m x 80% / R&D 2m x 80%) Additional deduction: (80% of enhanced expenditure / R&D 125%) Post tax loss The surrenderable loss is the lower of the post tax relief Trading loss of 3.56m or the enhanced expenditure of 3.2m Payable credit (20% x 3.2m) / R&D (11% x 3m) ==== ==== Key Message: Given the fact that you can include production costs in your claim under the video games relief, this is almost always going to be more beneficial than R&D tax relief. 17

19 HMRC Technical Committee 22 August 2012 Timing State Aid approvals Draft legislation December 2012 Better than France, lower than Canada Cultural test is key difficulty essence of Britishness Purpose must be game playing not advertising Debugging industry should drive this 18

20 Contact Garry Tetley Partner Deloitte LLP +44 (0)

21 Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited ( DTTL ), a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms. Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of DTTL. This publication has been written in general terms and therefore cannot be relied on to cover specific situations; application of the principles set out will depend upon the particular circumstances involved and we recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Deloitte LLP would be pleased to advise readers on how to apply the principles set out in this publication to their specific circumstances. Deloitte LLP accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of any material in this publication. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC and its registered office at 2 New Street Square, London EC4A 3BZ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0) Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited 20

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