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TIGA: Tax relief should step in when publishers step out

Cancelled projects should still be eligible

TIGA: Tax relief should step in when publishers step out
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UK trade association TIGA has vowed to support developers working on projects dropped by their publisher, claiming such titles should still be eligible from tax relief from the UK Government.

In a statement released this morning, the body has cited its own research from 2011 that suggests almost a quarter of all developers working in the UK have suffered when publishers have cancelled a project before it has been completed.

Just as films canned before release can still claim tax relief, claims TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson, so games dropped pre-release should also be eligible.

'Consistent'

"Some publishers have been known to leave studios high and dry by obliging them to maintain teams of developers for months on end, only for them to finally cancel projects," offered Wilson.

"This can have damaging repercussions for the studios in question. Just as some expenditure on unreleased films qualifies for film tax relief, so cancelled game projects should in principle be eligible for Games Tax Relief."

Wilson believes such an approach would be "consistent, fair and reasonable."

"Provided that the game in question would pass the cultural test and is demonstrably intended for release then it should in principle be eligible for games tax relief," he added.

Proposals

As a result, TIGA is planning to make a couple of proposals to the Government as part of its implementation of its tax relief for the games industry, first unveiled by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne as part of his 2012 Budget.

The body claims work involved in pre-production, technical design and game design on cancelled projects should all qualify for games tax relief.

Likewise, all work on playable prototypes – i.e. "as a functioning working model for the eventual game and addresses the key technical and design issues of the game" - should also be looped in.

"Games tax relief is designed partly to promote the creation of new content," added TIGA chairman and Rebellion's creative director Jason Kingsley.

"By enabling developers to claim relief on cancelled projects, the viability of studios will be enhanced. Studios will have more confidence to develop and pitch new IP to external publishers, or experiment with more direct to consumer business models.

"TIGA will be contacting Government officials to emphasise these issues and to seek clarity of guidance on these points."