Rockstar defends the $49m it received in UK tax relief last year

Rockstar defends the $49m it received in UK tax relief last year

Grand Theft Auto maker Rockstar has defended the £36.7m ($49m) it claimed in UK Video Games Tax Relief during 2019.

The figure was reported by pressure group Taxwatch UK - and has checked its accuracy - with the think tank claiming that Rockstar is behind 37 per cent of the total amount of money given in tax relief to games companies in the UK.

The studio defended the amount of money it had claimed back in a statement to VG247, saying that it has created over 1,000 jobs across the country. Rockstar, however, did not address the fact it has not paid corporate tax in the United Kingdom in the last four years.

"The UK's program to support the growth of a broad range of creative industries through tax relief is a proven success," Rockstar said.

"The 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 London, Lincoln, Yorkshire and Scotland.

"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 video game development well into the future."

UK video games trade body UKIE also released a statement on the matter, saying that ever £1 given in tax relief yields £4 in investment in the games industry. In other words, Rockstar may have claimed $49m in tax relief in one year alone, but that means that the Take-Two owned games giant has spent $147m in jobs for the period.

“Video Game Tax Relief (VGTR) is a forward-thinking policy that shows the UK understands the significance of games as a leading creative industry. We know that VGTR delivers a great return on investment for the taxpayer. For every £1 invested into the games industry via VGTR, it pays back £4 in gross value add into the economy,” the trade body said.

“But even more importantly, VGTR directly supports 4,320 high productivity full time jobs in game development roles – nearly a third of our entire development workforce – across the country.

“This helps businesses based everywhere from Dundee to Brighton to play on the global stage, while allowing local communities to benefit from great jobs fit for a digital age. The UK enjoys a global reputation for creative excellence in game development. Now is the time to continue to support an industry that drives inward investment, exports globally and provides a world beating showcase of the skills the UK has to offer.”

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.