Gaming and politics have a tricky and difficult-to-balance relationship – both parties understand what the other wants of them, but neither is truly willing to go halfway to resolve key issues in this day and age. However, if a recent press release is to be believed, interactive entertainment trade body UKIE may be taking the first step by providing key insight into upcoming U.K. tax relief legislation.
UKIE, known in full as the Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment, stated it was “broadly happy” with proposed legislation that will determine how tax credit will work for all U.K. companies. However, the organization also desired clarification of certain key points, namely the support of post-release content for games, the recognition of games as software and the assurance that all games “intended for release” will be considered qualified for this relief.
At the moment, the legislation carries these conditions:
- Proposed rate of production tax relief set at 25% for all UK games development
- No minimum budget threshold for games to qualify for relief (Note: This means that a game’s funding does not determine whether or not it gets the relief)
- The proposed tax relief scheme recognises the new business models and ways of making games which stretches beyond ‘release’ (Note: This does technically protect the development and sale of post-release DLC, though not in great detail)
UKIE has also said that it was pleased with the structure of the EU-required cultural test that games will have to pass in order to qualify, though they were some concerns about the timing of the EU sign off of the test. The organization has offered their assistance in liaising with officials in Brussels to make sure that this happens in time for the implementation of the scheme by this April.
Dr Jo Twist, UKIE’s CEO, is hopeful that the legislation passes quickly. “It is vital that we get the new tax relief system right from the very start. The new system needs to reflect how games are made today and support businesses, big and small.” Twist went on to comment on the importance of government consideration, so as to provide “a system that will really help us compete more effectively with Canada, for example, as the best place to make and sell games and interactive entertainment.”
More updates will follow, as this intriguing new legislation continues its journey through the political system.