Claiming that the Video Games Tax Relief fund helped establish over 1000 jobs at the company, Rockstar is responsible for claiming over a quarter of the program’s allocated funds.
The thing with taxes is that they’re utterly inevitable. Alongside death it’s one of the few consistent aspects of our lives whether like it or not. Rockstar Games, creators of characters that would probably do their best to dodge taxes, is clearly well aware that tax is unavoidable but that hasn’t slowed them down. The reason for that is two-fold: They’ve released literally two of the most successful games of all time and they’ve been helped out by the government of the United Kingdom.
More specifically the Video Games Tax Relief, a program set up by the UK to provide small and growing development studios with a way of cutting some costs and keeping their heads above water. Unfortunately, it seems the program is just a little to easy to abuse as it was reported last year Rockstar Games, alongside a host of other large developers and publishers, had allegedly been taking advantage of the system to save a load of money on their taxes.
Which is totally legal, don’t get me wrong, it’s just…well, when that money is meant to be spent on studios not making millions of dollars a week, it just feels a little gross.
Rockstar has now spoken out against these claims, stating that in their eyes they did nothing wrong. In a statement to VG247, Rockstar stated:
“The UK’s program to support the growth of a broad range of creative industries through tax relief is a proven success. The program has directly resulted in Rockstar Games significantly increasing its investment in the UK, creating well over 1000 highly skilled and long term jobs across London, Lincoln, Yorkshire and Scotland”.
This is after reports by watch dog group Tax Watch shared statistics which revealed Rockstar to have claimed 37% of the program’s allocated funds, which equates to around $104 million. For a program that was established with the primary goal of benefitting, “small and medium-sized businesses” it seems just a touch unethical for Rockstar to be siphoning so much of that money away.
“This investment and the success of British video games supported by the program not only significantly contributes to the economy, and to UK tax receipts, but also helps solidify the UK’s position at the forefront of videogame development well into the future”, continued Rockstar, dodging the question entirely.
While Rockstar is certainly not faultless, it should be reiterated that what they’re doing is not illegal as the Video Game Tax Relief fund is open to all development studios. The problem lies within the program itself for allowing a company the size of Rockstar to get away with so much money. Tax Watch has also speculated that the exorbitant amount of cash taken by Rockstar is likely to compensate for the production of Grand Theft Auto 6 although this information is unsupported.
Last Updated: January 21, 2020