Rockstar Games responds to £80 million tax relief claims

The developers behind GTA 5 have responded to reports about their tax relief

Lex Firth
16th February 2020
Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games has responded to a report showing that they claimed £37.6 million in tax relief in the 2018/19 fiscal year.

Analysis by watchdog TaxWatch shows that the developer’s tax claim accounted for 37% of all claims made by the UK video games industry for that year, taking the total since the introduction of the Video Games Tax Relief scheme in 2014 to £80 million.

Rockstar’s tax relief accounts for a quarter of all of the relief claimed from the British government, despite only publishing two games that qualify. A total of 1,110 claims have been made by the wider industry so far.

In order to qualify for the tax relief, the games being developed must be registered as “culturally British”; 2018’s Red Dead Redemption II is one such game.

As studios are able to make interim claims before a game is completed, it is believed that the bulk of the tax relief claims relate to the next instalment of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, the previous instalment – 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V –  which cost $291 million to develop and market, adjusted for inflation. It had generated around $6 billion by April 2018, making it one of the highest-grossing video games of all time.

In response, Rockstar said in a statement to VG247 that the relief 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 the country.

They add that the boost to the British video games industry “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.”

In a report last year, ThinkTank found that Rockstar had paid no corporation tax in the last ten years, labelling it “corporate welfare scrounging at its very worst."

Featured image credit: IGDB

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