Rockstar, the developer behind Grand Theft Auto 5, is under fire for issuing claims worth more than £42 million from the Video Game Tax Relief Fund between 2015 and 2017.
The criticism comes from Tax Watch UK, an investigative think tank that creates public conversation around taxes. Today, it’s focus is Rockstar:
— taxwatch (@taxwatch) July 28, 2019
The Video Game Tax Relief is available for games that pass a “cultural test” conducted by the British Film Institute, and it’s intended to aid games that would struggle to sell overseas. Considering GTA 5 is the most profitable entertainment product in history, Tax Watch calls Rockstar issuing claims for tax relief a “drive-by assault on the British taxpayer.”
Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, Tax Watch Director George Turner says, “It is outrageous that the UK taxpayer is being asked to shell out tens of millions of pounds in subsidies to the developers of Grand Theft Auto, when at the time that the game’s developers put in their tax credit application, Grand Theft Auto V had already generated several billion dollars in sales and profits.”
According to Tax Watch, Rockstar only boasted “slender profits” in its accounts for tax relief. The think tank is now calling on the HMRC to “urgently investigate” the Rockstar’s tax structure so that the Video Game Tax Relief aid goes to those games that Tax Watch finds more appropriate.