"Video Game Tax Relief (VGTR) is a forward thinking policy that shows the United Kingdom understands the significance of games as a leading creative industry".
Investigative think tank Tax Watch UK has published a report of Rockstar Games' tax returns for 2018/2019, in which it's revealed that the company claimed nearly 40% of the total tax relief reserved for video game projects deemed to have cultural significance that reflect "British creativity".
The amount of United Kingdom tax relief claimed by the developer of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 almost doubled between 2018 and 2019. GTA V, meanwhile, was recognized in 2018 the most profitable entertainment product ever made.
"This investment and the success of British video games supported by the program not only significantly contributes to the economy, and to United Kingdom tax receipts, but also helps solidify the UK's position at the forefront of video game development well into the future", a Rockstar spokesperson said.
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In fact, Rockstar and Take-Two have applied for, and been granted, around £42 million (roughly $51 million) in tax credits from the Video Game Tax Relief scheme in the last few years. Rockstar North's filing is worth more than all of the 315 claims combined. In the five years after GTA V's release, Rockstar and parent company Take-Two's UK-based studios claimed a profit of just £47.3m, while a $3.4 billion bonus pool was distributed among senior staff.
TaxWatch UK says the VGTR's annual budget is now about £100 million.
A spokesman for Rockstar said the relief was a "proven success" and had "directly resulted in Rockstar significantly increasing its investment in the United Kingdom, creating well over 1,000 highly skilled jobs". GTA VI is likely to be the next project to benefit, according to the report, as "the company has not registered any other games as being "Culturally British", the pre-requisite required to qualify for the relief, since GTA V". The Grand Theft Auto series has deep ties to British development, and so as TaxWatch UK claims, this tax return all but proves "production of the next edition of GTA" is well underway. "As VGTR is related to production spend, the large claim indicates the scale of Rockstar's next release, which is likely to cost far more than the $137m spent on GTA V".