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TIGA to pressure UK Government to deliver on games tax relief

Industry 'must have voice heard'

TIGA to pressure UK Government to deliver on games tax relief
While UK Chancellor George Osborne's decision to implement tax relief for the games industry was one of the few measures in the latest Budget to be greeted with almost universal praise, trade association TIGA has warned the fight is not yet over.

TIGA claims it will be working with the Government to "ensure that the tax break will be effectively designed and easy to use for its members", and has called for developers and publishers to step forward to help with those negotiations.

In short, unless the industry has its voice heard in the coming weeks, the promise of tax relief could prove to be a missed opportunity.

Opportunity knocks

"TIGA's research shows that a tax break for games production will reduce the cost of games development and has the potential to promote millions of pounds in investment, create jobs and accelerate the growth of the UK video games industry," said CEO Dr. Richard Wilson.

"We now have to capitalise on the momentum and enthusiasm we have garnered at this moment in time and seize this opportunity.

"We want as much feedback and input from our members – and new members – as possible to guarantee that we help those working at the coalface of the UK games industry."

Early estimates taken from official Treasury documents suggested up to £50 million of relief could be delivered to the games industry over the course of the next two years.

Making sure that figure becomes a reality is now TIGA's prime concern.

Close quarters

"TIGA will be working closely with the Government, Parliament and contacts within the EU to ensure that the new tax break is effectively designed and easy to use," added Wilson.

"TIGA wants a tax credit that helps all studios - small, medium and large - and we want a tax credit which supports games on all types of platforms."

TIGA has also detailed how it believes the tax relief will be implemented, including the rules developers will have to abide by in order to qualify.

Interestingly, games will need to "pass a cultural test that highlights aspects such as European content, originality and innovation" in order to be eligible for the relief.

Titles that contain pornographic content or extreme violence will not qualify, it's claimed, while there will also be different tiers of qualification based on each game's development budget.

Clauses and conditions

The first tier, for instance, will encompass titles with budgets ranging from £50,000 to £3 million, and will focus on small scale games.

The second tier will aid games with budgets of more than £3 million, focusing on PC or console releases from the bigger publishers.

"It will be of vital importance that the administering organisation put in charge of assessing whether or not games pass the cultural test has a detailed knowledge of the nature of interactive entertainment products and the processes involved in their creation and production," details TIGA of one of the predicted clauses.

"Applicants should be able to make a draft application and receive a 'letter of comfort' confirming that a game will pass the cultural test."

TIGA also proposes games that get cancelled during development should still be eligible for the relief, noting that this will be the case with a "significant proportion of development projects."

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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