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TaxWatch accuses Rockstar of corporate welfare scrounging

Published: 14:03, 29 July 2019
Rockstar Games
Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V
GTA V's Trevor

Developer of the most lucrative entertainment product ever, Rockstar Games, have found themselves under fire for not paying a penny in taxes in the United Kingdom, which TaxWatch likened to a drive-by assault on British taxpayers.

TaxWatch describe themselves as an investigative think tank and their latest report accuses Rockstar of not paying taxes since 2009, all the while earning insane amounts of revenue.

Moreover, Rockstar North Limited claimed £42m in Video Games Tax Relief subsidies in the past three years, and these are normally reserved for "culturally British" games not meant for international markets.

In spite of GTA's non-Britishness, they were still certified by the British Film Institute in September 2015, in spite of having amassed more than $3 billion in sales at the time.

All this prompted TaxWatch to call on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to urgently investigate the tax structure of Rockstar and their parent company Take-Two, as the amount of tax credits claimed by GTA developer amounts to 19 per cent of total tax credits granted since the relief was introduced in 2014.

"This is a drive-by assault on the British taxpayer and corporate welfare scrounging at its very worst", TaxWatch said, insisting that the relief is obviously not working as intended, since it's basically been helping one of the most powerful companies around.

In summary, Rockstar made $6 billion since GTA V launched in 2013, $5 billion of which was the company's estimated operating profit.

GTA's maker claimed £42 million in Video Games Tax Credits and made a total bonus pool of $3.4 billion available to Rockstar execs in the past decade, all the while not paying a single dime in taxes.

Take-Two Interactive GTA Online's character Simeon Yetarian GTA Online, Simeon Yetarian

Of course, GTA and Red Dead Redemption 2 are just tips of the iceberg that is Rockstar, and while they deserve some sort of credit for cleverly evading paying taxes, we can't imagine how it makes British developers feel, especially those whose games would be classified as 'culturally British'.

You can find the full report on TaxWatch's official website .

GTA Online by Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive

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