UK video games tax relief breakthrough – it’s your move, Ireland

28 Mar 2014

The European Commission (EC)’s approval of the UK’s tax relief scheme for video-game development will give the industry there a massive boost and paves the way for a similar tax break in Ireland, local industry executives believe.

The UK relief has been approved after a campaign by the UK video-games industry.

The tax relief – which offers game developers up to 25pc tax relief on four-fifths of their costs – was first announced as the Games Tax Relief in the 2012 budget by Chancellor George Osborne.

The UK has a particularly strong indigenous games industry, whose heritage goes back to the 1970s and 1980s in London and Scotland. Popular games titles to emerge from the UK include the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

It is estimated that the tax relief will lead to an estimated stg£188m in additional investment by game developers over the next five years and will generate stg£172m in additional tax receipts for the Treasury, according to games industry body TIGA.

Ireland needs to grasp the opportunity

Games Ireland welcomes the decision by the EC to approve the UK’s tax credit scheme for video-game development and suggested a similar move is likely for Ireland’s growing games industry.

“The approval, which was widely predicted in industry circles, gives the UK games industry a massive boost and paves the way for introduction of a similar tax break in Ireland,” said David Sweeney of Games Ireland.

“Ireland needs to grasp the opportunity to ensure its highly promising video-games industry takes its rightful place in the vanguard of the European games sector.

“Our industry must not be allowed to fall behind and lose jobs and key talent to neighbouring countries, such as France and the UK, who now have recognised the importance of the industry by devising and implementing key incentives. Similar measures already exist here but for film and television only.

“Games Ireland has participated in a Government taskforce aimed at growing the Irish games industry for the past year and tax breaks have been on the agenda. The taskforce will issue its report very soon,” Sweeney said.

Gamers image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years