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Rockstar respond to accusations of UK tax relief scrounging

Published: 11:51, 21 January 2020
Rockstar Games
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Almost six months after being accused by TaxWatch of corporate welfare scrounging by abusing the UK's Video Games Tax Relief, Rockstar responded and said that these funds have been used for creating a number of jobs across the country.

TaxWatch's report likened Rockstar's actions to a drive-by on British taxpayers , as the tax relief is meant to help producers of "culturally British" games and not international markets. According to the report, Rockstar claimed £42m in subsidy in the past three years, while awarding its executives with a bonus pool worth "billions of dollars".

Now, however, Rockstar responded by saying that the tax relief program has been a success in supporting the growth of many creative industries in the UK. 

"The UK's program to support the growth of a broad range of creative industries through tax relief is a proven success. The program has directly resulted in Rockstar Games significantly increasing its investment in the UK, creating well over 1,000 highly skilled and long term jobs across London, Lincoln, Yorkshire and Scotland", Rockstar's spokesperson told VG247. 

TaxWatch stressed that Rockstar made an estimated $5 billion in operating profit since GTA 5 launched in 2013, while paying £0 in corporate taxes in the last decade. 

To be fair, the last Rockstar game that's even remotely culturally British would be GTA London 1969 that launched in 1999, and even that was a mission pack. This naturally puts into question how they even became eligible for the tax relief but the company thinks otherwise. 

"This investment and the success of British video games supported by the program not only significantly contributes to the economy, and to UK tax receipts, but also helps solidify the UK’s position at the forefront of video game development well into the future", they said. 

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UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) jumped into Rockstar's defence, insisting that the tax relief is a policy that emphasizes the significance of games as a leading creative industry. "For every £1 invested into the games industry via VGTR, it pays back £4 in gross value add into the economy", they said. 

You can find Rockstar and UKIE's responses via VG247 .

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