Those applying for the Government’s new digital gaming tax credit need to demonstrate a project promotes Irish and European culture.
A new tax credit for projects in the digital gaming industry is being introduced by the Irish Government, provided the projects promote Irish and European culture in some way.
Announced as part of Budget 2022 and included in the Finance Bill published this week, the measure will see the provision of a refundable corporation tax credit for qualifying expenditure incurred on the design, production and testing of a game.
“This sector has seen exponential global growth in the past decade,” Donohoe noted in his Budget speech last week. “However, employment growth in the sector in Ireland has not matched this global trend. The relief will support digital games development companies.”
The credit will be available at a rate of 32pc on expenditure up to a maximum cap of €25m per project, and is subject to a commence order because it requires the approval of European state aid.
Caroline O’Driscoll, tax partner at Deloitte, said that the relief will only be available for games that integrate with digital technology, are published on an electronic medium, and incorporate text, sound, either still or animated images.
“Any company looking to qualify for the scheme will be required to demonstrate, through a certification process, that their game makes a contribution in the promotion and expression of Irish and European culture through its setting, principal characters, language or subject matter,” she added.
There are similar requirements for digital gaming tax credits in countries such as the UK, France and Germany.
O’Driscoll added that it was “encouraging” to see a focus on increasing employment and activity in the digital gaming sector, which is estimated to be valued at more than €100bn globally.
“Given the valuable role this credit may play in encouraging growth in the technology and design space in Ireland, we would hope that such a commencement order should be forthcoming shortly.”
In a piece written for RTÉ, Maria O’Brien of Dublin City University, who is researching film finance policy, said that the move marks a recognition of the fact that “culture is not only contained in literature and films, but is visible in multiple art forms”.
“The introduction of the credit is not merely to encourage people to take up gaming as players. Instead, it is a well-measured and significant support to an industry with much potential,” she wrote.
Screen Ireland, the State agency for Irish film, TV and animation, welcomed the tax credit and said it acknowledges the “huge potential” of Ireland’s creative digital economy.
“We will invest in the evolution of new areas of screen storytelling, to further develop innovation and creativity in this area,” said Susan Bergin, chair of Screen Ireland.
Last month, plans to construct a new €1.9m digital gaming hub in Strandhill, Co Sligo, were announced by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD. It is being funded by the Government and Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund, and will provide a flexible workspace and supports for companies in the digital gaming sector.
Varadkar said at the time that the digital gaming sector employs around 2,000 people in Ireland, but there is “huge potential for growth”.
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