25% Tax Relief For UK Games Developers

By John Walker on December 5th, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

Today is Britain’s perhaps most thrilling day of the year. It’s the day that the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives his Autumn Statement, the annual not-quite-the-budget about which everyone has been on tenterhooks for weeks. Will he make being unemployed entirely illegal? Will he announce that all benefits claimants must be his butler for one day of the year? Will he demand that the disabled must either stop complaining or move to Russia? Probably, I don’t know – I was playing Far Cry 3 over lunchtime. But one thing he has announced is a 25% tax relief for UK games developers.

As the UK games industry’s representative body TIGA rather excitedly declare (they’ve been campaigning for this for years), this is a simple, single 25% level of tax relief, which they say should be “simple to administer and economically impactful.” This doesn’t only affect games development, but also animation and “high end television production”. And it will apparently also include matching funding for training and developing in the creative industries. It’s almost as if the government’s finally noticed that making money from making games is in their interests. Especially if it’s by British companies who aren’t ferreting all their profits through the Cayman Islands.

The official wording from today’s budget reads:

Corporation tax reliefs for the creative sector – The Government announced at Budget 2012 that, following consultation on design, it would introduce corporation tax reliefs for the video games, animation and high-end television industries from April 2013, subject to state aids approval. Under these reliefs, qualifying companies will be able to choose between an additional deduction at a rate of 100 per cent of enhanceable expenditure or a payable tax credit at a rate of 25 per cent of qualifying losses surrendered.

TIGA’s enthusiastic CEO, Dr Richard Wilson, said that these tax breaks will “contribute to a rebalancing of the UK economy away from an over-reliance on public sector employment and financial services towards highly skilled, export focused industries.” However, he also warns that while this news is good, it still falls short of the 37.5% offered in Quebec, which is of course why so many publishers have their studios in Canada these days.

In other news, I have no idea what tax relief is, beyond the feeling of finally not wanting to be sick when I’ve sorted the annual mess out.

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114 Comments »

  1. Unaco says:

    I don’t believe it… Good news for once. Well done the Government.

    • Lambchops says:

      Looks like I got ninja’d!

    • Lev Astov says:

      Yes, this is very good news. I’m not even British and I’m excited for this. Tax breaks for the gaming industry are a great precedent to set.

      Wait, they didn’t include that nonsense about the games having to represent British culture, did they?

      • Crimsoneer says:

        You can’t legally offer any tax breaks within the EU any other way, I’m afraid, so they probably did. Free competitive market and all that.

        • Lev Astov says:

          Doesn’t a free market mean no arbitrary restrictions? Regardless, given that British culture pretty much fathered most of western culture, it shouldn’t be hard for devs to shoehorn any game into that restriction.

          • Dahoon says:

            Vikings says hello.

          • Llewyn says:

            We appropriated the Vikings decades ago, some time before the Jorvik Centre opened. They’re as British as chicken tikka masala now.

        • El_Emmental says:

          They need to get the authorization from the European Commission Directorate General for Competition, as it’s a recognized exception to the no-tax-break rule since 2007 (meant to be removed or extended in 2012).

          The french one was extended to 2017, as long as they can “prove” that the games developed under this tax break are “culturally significant”.

          http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-04-25-tax-credits-for-video-games-extended-by-eu

          GamerLaw explained the current system very nicely:
          “Under EU state aid rules, a Member State cannot take actions that benefit its national industries to the detriment of other Member State national industries (otherwise the concern is that you’d see rampant national favouritism, which would ruin the EU’s dream of a single European market).
          HOWEVER, there is an exception (or ‘derogation’) for appropriate cultural activities. Even then, activities which fall under that exception need to be approved by Brussels.”
          => http://www.gamerlaw.co.uk/2012/the-uk-games-tax-break-a-quick-update/

          They don’t want all game development studios to move to [*Insert EU country with the biggest tax break here*], preventing other EU countries from having a chance in this sector. You can’t be the Canada of the EU, as it’s not fair to other european countries.

          The single european market is meant to be “free” as in “equal chance for everyone”, not “lol do what you want guys, we don’t care”.

          TL;DR: UK tax breaks are ok if your game has red phone booth and use british spelling (“colour”), and your devteam is located in the UK.

      • mickygor says:

        I hope so, or my efforts to make Blighty Max have been in vain

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          It’s good news for my “roald rash” game (roald dahl meets road rash)

          • solidsquid says:

            The Fantastic Mr Flamethrower
            They destroyed his home, now he’s back for vengence

          • BooleanBob says:

            The Twits: [insert own social media joke here]

          • Subject 706 says:

            Wait, “Roald Rash”?? Did he have fleas?

    • rb2610 says:

      I hope that was in reference to: “Dr Richard Wilson”

  2. Lambchops says:

    Spotted an error, should be:

    “TIGA’s enthusiastic CEO, Dr Richard Wilson, said “I don’t believe it.””

    Journalistic/obvious joke standards at RPS are clearly slipping!

    • sinister agent says:

      I hate you. Posting that exact comment was meant to be the highlight of my day.

    • Chris England says:

      One Foot In the Grave references aside, the bigger error seems to be that TIGA don’t know the difference between a tax relief and a tax credit. They’re offering a 25% tax credit (ie. actually paid out) or a 100% tax relief (ie. subtracted from the total income that tax is calculated on). A 25% tax credit is about 4 times more valuable than a 25% tax relief.

      Easy mistake to make if you’re not familiar with the technical stuff, but a bit concerning they don’t know the difference if they’ve been lobbying for it for this long.

      • solidsquid says:

        Not an expert on mathematics, but wouldn’t 4 times a 25% reduction be a 100% reduction?

        • Chris England says:

          Yes but it’s a factor of tax rate. If you have £100k of relief and you pay 21% tax as a small company then 100% tax relief is worth £21,000.

          If you have a 25% tax credit on £100,000 it’s just a flat £25,000 payment to you.

          If you have 25% tax relief on £100k, it’s worth £5,250 at small companies rate. But the corp tax rate is 21% for small companies and 28% for large companies, so basically it varies depending on circumstances.

          Hence why what probably seems like nitpicking is actually quite an important point when it comes to working out how much money you actually get.

          EDIT – actually my tax rates are from a couple of years ago when I did my exams (they’re a little lower now) but the point still stands.

  3. wodin says:

    Well thats good news for them. However I have a burning hatred for this government..with a propaganda campaign to demonise the unemployed and especially the sick and disabled, that got all working people to believe anyone sick or disabled was scamming it so no one is bothered at all what they are doing to the sick and disabled and how much stress they are under..disgusting. All they needed to do is look at the forms they have to check what illness the person had..those with chronic conditions that don’t improve should have been left alone..but no they get a firm in not even medically trained to assess people whether they can work. It doesn’t work. 40% have gone to court to appeal and they’ve all been successful. One man who was paralysed down his left side and blind in one eye, died the day after he was told he was fit to work. This sort of thing is happening all over the country..then they have to be reassessed by the same lot to see if they can keep their disability money…bloody awful. People who are disabled and sick didn’t get the country into this mess nor is it likely they even contributed through getting credit cards and loans as they wouldn’t be given one in the first place.

    My ex wife has Aspergers Syndrome and can’t look after herself..she also as other mental health problems aswell. The medical had to be done at her home as she wasn’t able to goto the office where it would have been held as it would have been to stressful for her. Anyway they knew they had to go to her house as she wasn’t able to see them and yet they have said she is fit for work!! She can barely look after herself.

    Finally this government gave the rich a tax cut!! Whilst everyone else suffers. They say cutting the taxes of the rich will help drive business..erm..didn’t George Bush jnr do that and it made no difference at all except gave the rich more money?

    Rant over.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The current government took back the scheme set up by Labour that got my girlfriend into employment. They actually took her job away from her for no good reason, other than they can’t have a Labour scheme getting people into employment.

      Then they demonise the unemployed as you say, all the while creating unemployment. I truly believe the Tories are evil, nasty people.

      • Unaco says:

        They haven’t started any illegitimate wars yet though, have they?

        • wodin says:

          Erm..Tony Blair..Ireland was sorted out at last…no one mentions that.

          To be honest I don’t give a shit about Iraq I’m concerned about what happens here…everyone bangs on about Iraq and Blair..they overlook that actually he wasn’t bad Prime Minister..compared to Major, Thatcher and now tweedle dum and tweedle twat…

          Seriously I’d take Tony Blair any day over this couple of smug public school chums..did you know when Cameron got in the front bench consisted of all his school mates that where all members of the same school club.

          Liberals should be ashamed of themselves..Clegg is in it for abit of power and a bigger wage packet..he isn’t a Liberal. Liberal party is now totally destroyed because they got into bed with the Tories. Blimey Tories are doing what you expect of them…where as the Liberals..sell outs..Cameron is being ture to his Party and his people..Clegg on the other hand..smug little shit..

          • Unaco says:

            ” tweedle dum and tweedle twat…”

            See… This is the sort of stuff I was talking about. Just insults and venom directed at the other side because… well, because they’re the other side. Pointing out that they’re from Public Schools… did you know Tony Blair went to Fettes? The poshest Public school in Scotland. Tony Blair was just as guilty of Cronyism (never heard of Tony’s Cronys?). Lord Falconer, Baron of whatever, was Blair’s flatmate… do you know how many positions Blair invented for him to occupy? 2 different Secretary of State positions.

            It’s all just mud-slinging, with no discussion of their actual policies.

          • Lone Gunman says:

            Classic divide and rule in action.

          • Brigand says:

            “Erm..Tony Blair..Ireland was sorted out at last…no one mentions that.”

            That sentence doesn’t seem very well thought out to me.

          • Jimmy says:

            There is a lot of venom, and demonising George Osborn because of his priviledged background while overlooking that of Blair and others is wrong. You can deplore his policies but class-hatred is poisonous. He doesn’t seem like the root of evil to me, nor does his tweedle dee, David Cameron, and I am a Labour voter generally. Also David Cameron and his administration scored a big diplomatic success with Ireland with the Bloody Sunday apology, and the (of course related) agreement to export renewable energy from Rep. of Ireland which could benefit all parties. No doubt benefitting from the excellent relations of the Blair-led Labour administration and the Good Friday agreement.

            The issue with Britain is how you correct the public finances and the economy, and we know which way the Tories swing on that, no surprise, and yes it must really hurt some people like the lady referred to above. On the other hand, tax credits for games companies, yay!

      • Prime says:

        Labour? Tory? Different collar on the same dog. Get partisan if you want but the underlying power structure in this country, the one that never really changes, is what sent us to war. Blaming Labour for that ignores all the hard-working, dedicated politicians in Labour that bitterly opposed it, even resigning to do so. And please don’t think even for a second that if the Tories had been in power we’d have told the US that we’d be staying at home – they’d have done exactly the bloody same.

        • Unaco says:

          “they’d have done exactly the bloody same.”

          That’s sort of what I was saying. They’re as bad as each other… If you’re going to call the Tories ‘evil, nasty people’, then you should really be doing the same for Labour, and all of them really. But then where does language like that get us? It’s just venom and hyperbole and polarisation.

          Really I was being slightly contrarian, and objecting to language like ‘evil’.

          • Crimsoneer says:

            and well done you for saying it. Our political system and the fact that the majority of people in the world aren’t particularly sharp produces some really shitty outcomes. Evil politicians doesn’t really come into it, it’s just a screwed incentive structure.

          • KikiJiki says:

            The amount of political venom on RPS is one of my least favourite things about the site.

          • Lemming says:

            Yup, which is why I have my blog (linked via my username if anyone with a political bent is interested).

          • Dahoon says:

            You have a blog you link on RPS about politics because people on RPS hate all the talk of politics on RPS? That makes sense.

          • Lemming says:

            No, I have a link to the only blog I’ve got, as there is an option to add such a link your profile. I’m mentioning it now, because it’s relevant.

        • Dozer says:

          … and that unchanging underlying dog is the Crown. The authority of the government comes from the Crown, not from the electorate, ultimately, allowing the Prime Minister to almost unilaterally declare war on a foreign country for no concrete reason and get away with it.

          Nothing personal against the Royal Family, they’re pretty irrelevant, but the magical hat they carry should permanently belong in a museum. Long live the United Republic of Great Britain and Northern Ireland!

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Technically yes. In reality no. They are, as you say, largely irrelevant – a symbolic figure head and nothing more. Any power they might appear to wield (e.g. the power to disolve parliament) is entirely illusory and would evapourate the instance they tried to use it against the government’s will.

          • Lemming says:

            Heh, you should read my blog mate. Republic of GB is exactly what I’d like to see. :)

          • Apolloin says:

            Republicans! Pfffft. People who think we’re getting screwed over by a mob of crooked politicians who think it could be fixed by electing ANOTHER bloody politician to oversee the whole mess.

            Personally I like my constitutional safeguards crown-shaped.

          • Dahoon says:

            Another post about your lemmings politics blog. I didn’t even know lemmings had blogs.

          • Lemming says:

            And another post about you mentioning it. Green doesn’t suit you, sir.

        • wodin says:

          Thing is Labour are the better of two evils..and voting for anyone else ends up with the situation we have now..Tory government because people protested against labour and voted for the Liberals or other minority parties ..which in the end got the Tories in…

          I do think Labour gave the job to the wrong brother…

      • Lone Gunman says:

        All the war stuff comes from far above the government. All we can do is pray that Tony Blair doesn’t become president of Europe.

        On the benefit issue I don’t really see the problem. £26,000 is hardly poverty. Together my parents have always had a job and have had minimal benefits but another family we know have been living off of benefits for a very long time and have lived a more expensive life style than us.

        I am not hating on the poor just rather not mindlessly following the left wing propaganda.

        • wodin says:

          I don’t see an issue with £26K either..I’m not talking about that..I’m talking about this reassessment of the sick and disabled to say they are fit to work when they aren’t..and then they will get their benefit cut because they can’t work..even if they did get a job likelihood is they will be off work ALOT..Also the jobs they will be able to go for will most likely be restricted in what they can do..thereby cutting the opportunities by loads ontop of the fact there are many public service workers being laid off who are far more likely to be given a job over someone who is disabled\sick and likely not to be able to keep up with the job..Programmes about scammers and scrounger son TV have done a great job in convincing all people are scamming etc when really it’s a very very small minority..

          I think DLA they should have stopped it for any disabled person who is working and gets over say 26K..instead of fucking everyone over..I was given DLA for life by a doctor sent by the Social Security..I’m now told it isn’t for life (even though my condition will get worse with time and is chronic) and I have to have an assessment by someone who isn’t even medically trained..damn stupid. Though everyone says I will be OK, going by whats been happening I’m not so sure, let alone the constant worry and stress leading upto the medical\aseessment..

          • Lone Gunman says:

            Yes I totally agree with you. I just felt like it has become unfashionable to question the benefits system.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Not unfashionable(in fact I wish people would stop jumping on the benefit-bashing bandwagon), it’s just that most people don’t know the slightest thing about the system or the changes being made to it and replace the giant gaps with personal anecdotes that can’t be verified and don’t stack up with the evidence for the country as a whole.

            The benefit cap was one of the most popular features of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. But it was also on of the smallest, saved little money(and may not save anything overall) and was simply politics. In the House of Lords one of the victories against the government was to successfully exclude benefits affecting children from the cap, something which would have cut about half of the very moderate savings estimated for the policy.

            Not ones to obey existing laws and actually do proper impact assessments and such, the government decided that as they couldn’t win fair and square, they’d cheat. They had the WRB re-classed as a finance bill, granting them an obscure, rarely used and ancient privilege to force it through without any changes and effectively reversing the Lords amendments. However, it was an admission that the benefit cap is intentionally aimed at families with children and not about saving money.

            But because these are awkward details that don’t sell newspapers, the public are clueless about what’s actually been happening. If you support a family, but lose your job and you are renting, many landlords simply refuse to accept anyone on Housing Benefit even if they had previously been working. Vacancies are still advertised as ‘no DSS’, though they’re not allowed to say ‘no blacks or Irish’ anymore. The chances are if the landlord kicks you out you’ll need to go into emergency temporary accommodation and that is where most of the large households benefit expenditures come from. £26,000 is actually not a lot for a full household. All it does is restrict the options for local authorities that have to do a spinning plates act trying to swap multiple families around different priced accomidations to stop any of them from passing the £26k threshold in one year.

            Administratively, THAT is going to be very expensive. So the gov gets a short-term saving on the balance sheet they’ve targeted, but with a rise in the local authority ones they aren’t paying attention to. Hence most of the cuts on-paper so far have not been in central government, but local government. They’re having to make more savings than they wanted to manage the consequences of Treasury incompetence, which was a point raised by Boris Johnson in his submission to the consultation on changes to Disability Living Allowance, revealed by a FOI request.

    • mickygor says:

      Want to help the incompetent? Donate to charity, or start a cooperative. Don’t steal a bit of everyone else’s money and just give it to them.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        Being a UKIP supporter I’m surprised you don’t have a bit more sympathy for incompetence.

    • iucounu says:

      Some of the ATOS stories coming out are just terrible. “John is so severely disabled he has to wear nappies and is fed through a tube. He is blind and deaf, cannot speak, suffers frequent seizures and requires 24-hour care. But he has now been told by a Government decision maker that he is “capable of work” — and that he is no longer entitled to benefits.”

      • Lone Gunman says:

        Yes that is terrible but it could be an outlier where something has gone wrong somewhere in the pipe line. These types of things will happen under any government.

        • Ich Will says:

          Sorry but the 40% figure was accurate. A 40% successful appeal rate is unbelievable when we are talking about forcing some of the most vulnerable in society into a position where their health is damaged. The importance of those decisions is such that the successful appeals should be virtually 0%, i.e. they should get it right nearly every time.

        • iucounu says:

          I honestly don’t think it’s an outlier, you know. I think the crackdown on the disabled and the terminally ill – designed to save an absolute pittance – is policy.

          38% of appeals against a ‘fit for work’ decision are successful. Where the claimant is represented by a welfare rights org (as legal aid for such matters has also been abolished) the success rate rises to 80%!

          Between January and November 2011, 10,600 claims ended, and the claimant died within six weeks of having their benefit cut off. Bloody scroungers!

          “A staff nurse of more than 20 years has said her own life was ruined after Atos forced her to ‘trick’ disabled people out of cash. She was ‘carpeted’ by bosses for being ‘too nice’ to claimants. She was told to mark people as fit if they could write or show up for an interview properly dressed, turned up with a toddler or could sign the application form.

          “She said Atos decision makers paid no attention to her professional clinical opinion and were only interested in cutting down the number of claimants. Atos bosses expected assessors to get through 10 cases in a day and she was reprimanded by the Medical Director for being too nice.

          “She said all the questions she was told to ask were loaded. After five months, she was signed off with stress caused by ‘having to trick sick people out of their benefit’. She said “I stopped working for Atos three-and-a-half years ago but I still feel sick every time I think of those people deemed fit for work, when they quite clearly were incapable of doing so. I apologise from the bottom of my heart to all those people I had to assess during my five months in the job but the decisions were out of my hands. Once I realised how manipulative the assessment system was, I got out immediately. The stress of it all made me ill and I have not worked since.”

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            The proportion of appeals itself is not a big deal: that’s roughly the same as what it was when Incapacity Benefit was active, before ESA started phasing in to replace it. The issues are that assessments for ESA are happening way more frequently than they did for IB. The government says people were ‘parked for over ten years’ on IB and not seen and that is utter bullcrap, but they were not on an over-zealous re-assessment treadmill as they are now. ESA was introduced in 2008; there are some cases of people having already been assessed eight or more times and they are still learning disabled, have severe Crohn’s and other embarrassing things they shouldn’t have to talk about every three months with a total stranger who is not their doctor and refuses to acknowledge that they are patients whom they have a duty of care for(putting them beyond the remit of the GMC, CQC and BMA). Fiscally, that’s atrocious.

            Ethically, it isn’t a quagmire because that would imply that difficult decisions are being made. They’re not- there is as close as you can get to an absolute moral right and absolute moral wrong when it comes to how to treat sick and disabled people and these arguments have been settled. They are just being completely ignored now- only care homes are subjected to these public moral standards because the public at large can not be implicated in the abuse, unlike with welfare reforms which remain popular among the perpetually ignorant. That 38% of appeals are successful is not as important as the fact that: 1- a claimant is twice as likely to win their appeal if they turn up, 2- a claimant’s success rate is between 80-100% if they are supported by professional help at Tribunal, either by Citizens Advice or a solicitor. 3- the government claims appeals are mainly overturned due to evidence being disclosed which previously weren’t, except that the ESA is intended(and ministers have actually expressed their pride in this) to disqualify evidence from the claimant’s own doctors and therapists.

        • Nick says:

          I was actually laughed at at my assessment by the person doing it.

      • Jdopus says:

        If you want someone to blame for this kind of thing then the blame shouldn’t be directed at the government, it should be directed right at the media. Newspapers like The Sun, The Daily Mail and every other tabloid in the country have been demonizing everyone on welfare for years now. We live in a democracy and their ruthless misrepresentation of the British Welfare system has changed the course of public opinion and forced every political party in the country to take a stance of “Obviously benefits need to be cut because of all these bloody scroungers.”

        Never mind the fact that unemployment benefits are barely enough to live on, pandering to the stupidest elements in society and scapegoating people on benefits sells papers.

    • derbefrier says:

      seriously?

      I mean is this whats actually happening or is this what you have been told is happening? Its important to know the difference. Here in the US the old “Republicans want retarded kids to starve and push grandma off a cliff” is classic liberal propaganda used to demonize the party in the minds of those that never look past bumper sticker slogans. I don’t mean to accuse you of being clueless as I am the one clueless here but your rant drew a lot of parallels to the recent class warfare tactics we have been seeing going on in the US lately.

      Also on your tax cut comment yes the Bush tax cuts did help the economy immensely. It a myth that taxing the rich more accomplishes anything like balancing the national budget or increasing revenue to the government. Historically when this happens the money is already spent before it even been seized by the government and the “promised” cuts on spending given as a compromise to the republicans never happen and the national debt keeps going up(just watch when the republicans cave and give Obama his tax hikes for this financial cliff scam, nothing will change except Obama will have successfully transferred more wealth from the private sector to the government) Fun fact if the government confiscated the entire earnings of the top 1% (i think it might have even been the top 3%) the government could operate for maybe an entire month off of that, if Obama got the tax hikes he is asking for now, its only 8 days and wouldn’t even begin to put the smallest dent in our national debt but he is acting like its the end all be all solution. This is how out of control our congress is. Its not an income problem but a spending problem. The reason why it wont get fixed is because it would be political suicide as evidenced by your rant and they are too worried about loosing their power than doing what needs to be done (both democrats and republicans in Americas case) Massive cuts in entitlement programs will have to take place to even come close to balancing our budget. This is just a fact, it cant be argued unless you completely ignore math. the numbers just don’t add up but people fall for this crap every time because its so easy to blame those evil rich people(the way politicians so expertly play on your jealousy and envy of the rich is quite remarkable) so in the end we will all end up like Greece. bleh looks like I went on a rant of my own their..oops.

      • wodin says:

        During the election the BBC showed several graphic on the US economy after G Bush signed some Tax cut thing..the economy continued to go down..infact the BBC where saying it’s caused a right mess so was an economic analyst..so both views are unbiased..and it proves that cutting taxes for the rich doesn’t improve the economy at all…anyone who thinks it’s right that the Rich have Tax Cuts whilst everyone else suffers is either Rich or needs their head screwed on properly..

        Now give business concessions and get the banks lending..thats what needs to be done..

      • Ich Will says:

        Yes, seriously!

        The government have appointed a company called ATOS Origins, a French IT company to perform health checks on the disabled to check whether they are fit for work or not. These ATOS employees are not supposed to actually make the decision as to whether a person is fit for work or not but administer a questionnaire, however when you go through the system, the ATOS employee is referred to as a “decision maker” and if you apply to do that role at ATOS, you are applying for the role of decision maker.

        The decision makers role is an unqualified one, you do not need any medical training to do the job. Their advise to the Department of Work and Pensions (who pay the benefit) is given more weight in your case than your GP’s, a specialist in your area and the foremost world expert (the three people I chose to give their evidence in my case).

        ATOS Origin have a contract with the government and as with any contracts the government have with a private firm, it is supposed to be made available to the public. Some areas are allowed to be censored, however the contract the government has with ATOS has one very dubious area censored, ATOS get paid a censored amount of money to provide a censored service. This situation is grossly in breach of the guidelines which regulate what should or should not be censored – put simply, an unknown amount of public money is paying a private company to provide an unknown service. What is that service? It could be something quite innocent, it could give ATOS a bonus for every person they remove from the benefits system. We will never be allowed to know.

        The decision is a judicial one, it is supposed to be made by a judge, and it usually is. However the tribunal is supposed to be run in accordance to UK law obviously. They very rarely are. In my case, I had to ask for permission to appeal, and basically I had to prove that the tribunal had breached UK law. It was easy because they had changed the date of the tribunal without informing me (making it impossible for me to be present at and present my case to the tribunal), they had not sent me my copy of the DWP’s evidence until after the tribunal had been held (Full disclosure of evidence is a cornerstone of fair justice) and I had proof that the judge had a relationship with the DWP (corruption). When I applied for my appeal it was granted on all three of those points. However would a less savvy person been able to get that appeal?

        I can obviously prove everything I have written as I have saved every piece of documentation. Because of this BS system, I ended up on the streets, assaulted a police officer for the sole purpose of being jailed and fed etc etc. This should never have happened if we like to believe we are as enlightened a society as we like to believe.

        Fucked up enough?

        • Supahewok says:

          Not to make light of your situation or anything, I’m simply morbidly curious… how are you commenting now with your situation being as bad as it is?

          • Ich Will says:

            That was several years ago – long story short, I have a home, a business and a wheelchair, a loving family, a lack of Ian Beale beard, the appropriate treatment and can function in society as fully as any person (well dalek, I suppose, stairs defeat wheels every time). The events I detailed above should never have been allowed to happen if the system worked as intended. While I understand there has to be safeguards to prevent abuse of the system, the way it is working now punishes the genuinely ill while rewarding those who lie (not being checked out by a medically qualified staff makes faking illness trivial)

        • Dahoon says:

          The system is not the cause of you assaulting a cop. You are and only you. No matter what the system has done to you, it can never make you assault a cop. That statement alone makes everything you wrote stand out as whine. Napkin?

          • xao says:

            You missed the point. He needed to get thrown into jail in order to be housed and fed. He chose to “assault” a cop. It’s not an uncommon tactic among certain segments of the homeless population when abetted by the officer, as actually doing harm to the officer tends to have deleterious consequences.

          • Ich Will says:

            I explained the situation to the police officer. He pointed out to me that he couldn’t just put me in jail for the night he would need a reason, say assault. I flicked his nose while he held it deliberately in reach. I had a beer with him just a week ago, he was my best man and I was his. As xao points out, that is not the point of the story – the desperation to reach that level, gaining a criminal conviction because I feared for my life on the streets is the point and the action I had to take to save my life (in my opinion), no matter how complicit the officer was is disgusting.

            I’m not whining, not on my own behalf anyway. I’m fine, I need no sympathy from anyone and in fact, I am probably doing rather better financially and in happiness than many people on this board, if the $100 greenlight fee debate is anything to go by. What I will not abide is the same thing happening to others. It still is.

            Every homeless person you avoid is not there purely because they made bad decisions. Some of them are there because they were unlucky and a corrupt individual wrote a lie on a piece of paper. That corruption must end and those people who will tell lies which can kill someone for money must be bought to account. If I have educated even one person today, it was worth exposing myself to people like you who need the education most of all.

      • iucounu says:

        When Bush came to power he inherited the biggest budget surplus in US history (from Clinton.) A combination of massive tax cuts for the wealthiest in society, and massive spending on warmongering, lead to him leaving Obama with the biggest budget deficit in US history.

        I really don’t see how you can say that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy. I mean, both George H W Bush and Clinton raised taxes, and the economy boomed, despite predictions of disaster from conservatives. Then Dubya slashed taxes, we were told that growth would follow, and the opposite happened.

        To be honest, though, it looks like the top rate of tax isn’t really correlated with growth at all. It looks more like what the economy needs is more jobs.

        • Supahewok says:

          My own personal beliefs is that both parties are as bad as each other. Sure, good old W. cut taxes, but he also starting spending like crazy. Tax cuts work (to a certain extent, they’re certainly no miracle cure), but only if you cut your spending in proportion to it. Also, I believe whoever comes in after Obama is going to inherit the largest deficit of all time, so that’s a short lived title for W. And to be honest, I don’t think W. should’ve cut taxes in his presidency, he should’ve let our debt get a bit more out of the red first, which at that point still would’ve taken years. Like I said, both parties are as bad as each other.

      • Barnaby says:

        derbefrier says:
        “It a myth that taxing the rich more accomplishes anything like balancing the national budget or increasing revenue to the government”

        NYTimes says:
        “Mr. Obama has called for tax increases on the wealthy that would raise about $1.6 trillion more in the first decade, or twice the Republicans’ offer. About $1 trillion would result from not extending the top Bush rates, the rest by limiting deductions but with a different approach than Republicans have offered.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/05/us/politics/limiting-tax-deductions-may-work-but-not-easily.html?hp

        • Dahoon says:

          1,6 trillion over a decade? Hmm..

          According to Wikipedia, the US is using the short scale, I.E. a trillion is one million million. So lets compare the 1,6 with the US debt:

          16,349,000,000,000
          1,600,000,000,000

          Well, that puts it into perspective doesn’t it. Better than nothing (;

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      I love going to work for people that can’t afford to pay me.

      *Sarcasm

    • Asurmen says:

      I would like to point out that with this statement, more people will be a higher rate tax payer in 13/14 than there are in 12/13.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      It’s true, I’m going through the proceedings and am basically fucked. Either my parents will take care of my living expenses or I’m out on the street, having no way to make money short of robbing banks.

  4. Simplisto says:

    What sort of impact does this have for British indie developers?

    • Chris England says:

      Should be a fair bit. A quick reading of their proposals suggests that it essentially covers all development of the game (that’s development, not including things like advertising etc) and then you get the choice of either the following:

      1) Reclaiming an extra 100% of the sum against your profits
      2) Surrendering 25% of it for a tax credit paid to you by the government

      So basically if I spend £100,000 developing a game and make £300,000 profits I can either do option 1 and reduce my taxable income to £100,000 or do option 2) and take 25% of the £100,000 development costs as a tax credit of £25,000, which I assume HMRC pay directly to the company.

      That said, it appears it is modelled on Film Tax Relief which has some quite tight “cultural” requirements. Most of which just wouldn’t relate to video games very well, in fact.

      Also, more pressingly for my own business, for FTR the “qualifying amount” (the development costs in my above example) is the lowest of 80% of total development costs or 100% of the money spent in the UK. So if you use a lot of overseas contractors you’re shit outta luck.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        Xenonauts For the Win!!!

        • jezcentral says:

          Good news for Project Zomboid?

          Hang on, something about that sentence isn’t parsing properly in my brain.

          • Salt says:

            I am very much not an accountant. But I suspect it will depend how they’re set up financially. If there is a company that pays a wage to the developers, then I assume that company would be able to claim tax relief.
            But if they have a more casual relationship where they’re a partnership or something and just pay out their rent and stuff from that, I’m not so sure if they’d be able to claim it.

            It does sound like the tax relief is enough to justify small indie groups bothering to set up a company and hiring an accountant to sort it out though.

          • Chris England says:

            It’s good news for any British company that spends most of its money on British developers – wage bills included. So I’d imagine Project Zomboid would do fine out of it, as an example – it’ll help us too, but to a lesser degree. This is all dependent on the “cultural test” though.

      • Lone Gunman says:

        Do homicidal British robots count? :D

      • Bungo says:

        If the tax credit works in a similar fashion to the existing R&D tax credit, only companies making a loss qualify for a payable credit. Profit making companies take the extra deduction from profits. So in your example, profits would be reduced to £200,000, saving £20,000ish of an otherwise £60,000ish tax bill (other factors can affect the rate) rather than getting a credit for £25,000. Still a pretty good deal.

  5. Cooper says:

    “I have no idea what tax relief is”
    In this case it’s a straight cut from corporation tax bill any such companies will recieve from HMRC. (As opposed to income tax, VAT and so on that they also pay. Corp. tax was at the centre of the recent Amazon, Goggle & Starbucks show and tell; claiming “we still pay VAT” whilst shuttling profits elsewhere to reduce corp. tax was a main point of contention).

    Personally, I doubt it will have much impact on smaller enterprises (i.e: Anyone not Rockstar). But I’m sure Jim would know more about that.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      So hold on, why are we raging at Starbucks for trying to pay less tax, while cheering on TIGA for convincing the government to do exactly the same thing?

      • KikiJiki says:

        Starbucks should be paying a lot more tax but they’re using grey area accounting tactics to declare their income being in Ireland or something.

        I’ve only skimmed this article but a corporation tax break is kind of the ‘legit’ version of this, fully endorsed by government.

        • Crimsoneer says:

          Yeah, that’s the point I was trying to make. We are just cheering the fact that the game industry now only has to pay 75% of their taxes, because that’s great, but when Starbucks and Amazon get off with 20% tax they’re being terrible fiends. There is something of a disconnect there. I wonder at what percentage you need to pay to keep the moral high ground.

          EDIT: also, were you on WoW radio? Because if you were, that was good.

          • KikiJiki says:

            Yeah, I was on WoW Radio :), always nice to run into people who used to listen!

            I think with these tax breaks the government is making it a bit clearer what sort of levels of tax they expect companies in the video games industry should be paying. As for Starbucks you’d probably have to go and ask the Treasury directly what level of tax they consider to be fair.

          • ocelotwildly says:

            I think the issue is that Amazon and Starbucks are meeting local demand, which would be met by other companies if they weren’t around. By using complex corporate structures to pay less tax, they can undercut other, smaller firms or local coffee shops that would otherwise exist to meet demand and pay a higher share of their revenue in tax.

            Games development, on the other hand, is not restricted to being located near its customer base and can be done wherever there is the greatest financial incentive. By cutting tax to make the UK more attractive, we’re benefiting through an increase in well-paid, high tech jobs and (potentially) a higher overall tax take as more companies are incentivised to work here.

            So it’s not so much a question of how much tax you are or aren’t paying, but whether you are an industry that will grow the economy or one that will just parasitise existing markets.

          • zachforrest says:

            Starbucks have a big market in the UK selling their coffee. They’re not going to up sticks and leave for getting taxed more. They’re still going to make a profit.

            And if they did leave, who cares? Other coffee shops will fill their place.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            That was a stunning answer Ocelot. 10/10.

      • DrGonzo says:

        Because this doesn’t produce less tax. Currently these busniesses just move abroad meaning we lose far more tax than giving them a cut. But it’s still a big pile of horse poo. Just imprison anyone who tries to avoid paying tax, forcefully take over any business that tries to avoid paying tax.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          That, and paying less taxes in the short run may mean more employment, greater success and hopefully increased profits. Which leads to more tax income. And good games from the UK.

          • Crimsoneer says:

            Those are pretty much the exact arguments used by Starbucks, Amazon to justify their tax plans…

      • Hackmysack says:

        Different things,
        Starbucks already have a good foot in the market and dodged taxes in an illegitimate way,
        This is to encourage more of the Games industry to come back to the UK since a great deal of developers flew the coop to Canada a while back.

      • cliffski says:

        Starbucks were lying through their back teeth to try and dodge paying any tax whatsoever. This is a bonus for honest legit companies who (like me!) who have been paying their taxes without a load of fiddling and offshore bullshit.
        It’s rewarding the honest guys!

        • Crimsoneer says:

          Fair point Cliff. Nice to know this will actually benefit the little guy, so to speak :) Also, your games rock.

          Still though, I do think it’s a little weird that we’re all happy to cheer when the industry pays a bunch of lobbyists to butter the government into letting it pay less tax. I’m sure that’ll save jobs and all, but that’s exactly how Google and Starbucks justify their perfectly legal tax schemes.

          How much you pay in taxes seems to have become a matter of morality and not legality recently, and I get kind of uncomfortably when governments start talking morality.

          • KikiJiki says:

            The thing is the tax schemes being used by Google and Starbucks are totally legal, which is down to abject laziness on successive government’s part. They’re just convoluted as hell and on paper look totally immoral (or as moral as raw numbers can attempt to look).

        • Guernican says:

          Not true, sir. The sad thing about it is that Starbucks, like many other large multinationals, are getting round the system using perfectly legitimate means.

          The problem is that you need, almost by your nature, to be a multinational to do it. The government is perfectly well aware of the problem and the reason it’s hard to pursue is that it takes advantage of systems that are outside of their jurisdiction.

      • Baboonanza says:

        The reason TIGA have been able to get the tax break is that the videogames industry creates jobs that require highly skilled employees (that therefor earn decent salaries and feed money back into the tax system) and has significant export potential. Starbucks creates minimum wage jobs that actually cost the exchequer money whiel funnelling their profits overseas.

        Not really comparable.

  6. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Well yay on this, now that they have FINALLY done something that isn’t completely reprehensible can we kill all those fuckers now please?

  7. kilkrazy says:

    what the hell is a exchequer. a failed banker?

  8. Harlander says:

    Canada also has a lower corporation tax rate, so even if the UK matched their relief, a UK-based company would still pay more.. I think?

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      i’m not sure that Canada and Britain can really operate exactly the same fiscal policies.

  9. MistyMike says:

    Tax breaks for corporations and the rich! Just what we need!

    • RogB says:

      rich?
      have you not been counting the amount of UK studios going under recently?

    • cliffski says:

      corporations are employment creators. You would rather UK game developers went bust because they can’t compete with Canada, and laid off all their staff?
      That doesn’t sound like a good move.
      I would rather EVERYONE got no tax breaks. i don’t support tax breaks for game developers in general, there are better uses for government money.
      But we can’t compete fairly in such an international market when countries like Canada shower developers with cash.

      • Crimsoneer says:

        But where do you stop? Who decided we have to compete on a level playing field with Canadian games? Why not French cheese or Russian industry?
        I don’t think this is necessarily bad, but it’s definitely not all good. It’s still the government picking favorites among industries.
        Not too mention we’re pretending this is purely to promote or cultural products to get around EU regulation.

        • cliffski says:

          Yes I agree. I’d much rather we lobbied to get Canada to scrap it’s tax breaks, that would be far better all round, but I guess there isn’t much chance of that :(

    • Asurmen says:

      Apart from the fact that personal allowances going up and higher rate tax limit going down means a tax cut for the basic rate payers but more people will be higher rate tax.

  10. Mike says:

    “qualifying” is an ominous word. Will it actually scale down to indie level?

  11. CaspianRoach says:

    >disabled must either stop complaining or move to Russia
    That would be a very silly idea. The moving to Russia part, not the complaining one. My aunt is on a disability and she receives about 10k RUR monthly, which is about 200 pounds roughly. And surprise, surprise, about 2-3k will go towards paying for necessities like electricity, central heating, hot and cold water, trash collecting, general repairs and the like.
    It’s very hard to make a tolerable living on that kind of money without having at least some secondary income (she works on her own plot of land out of the city slowly but steadily).

  12. andytizer says:

    The link says: “tax reliefs for the video games, animation and high-end television industries from April 2013″ – does this include entities like RPS and other video game ‘media’ and journalism websites too?