UK gave out over $247m in tax relief in 2020/21

UK gave out over $247m in tax relief in 2020/21

The UK government doled out more than £180 million ($247 million) in video games tax relief (VGTR) for the year ending April 2021.

The news was revealed in a brand new report from the country's HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which says that the organisation approved 350 claims for tax relief during the 2020/21 fiscal yea. This entails 640 projects, apparently.

That $180 million figure represents a 48 per cent increase year-on-year, as well as just 13.8 per cent of the £1.3 billion ($1.8 billion) that was paid out in tax relief to the creative entertainment industries as a whole by the UK.

While the number of claims has been steady at around 350 per year since 2017/18, the number of projects has soared in this time. Of the 350 claims made in 2020/21, 47 per cent were for small amounts – £50,000 (∼$68,000) or less – though were only responsible for 2 per cent of the £180 million paid out. 87 per cent of tax relief paid out was for projects claiming £500,000 (∼$686,000) or more, something that HMRC notes has increased year-on-year. Presumably the other 11 per cent of claims were for smaller projects asking for between £50,000 and £500,000.

HMRC also says that since UK VGTR has paid out £4.4 billion ($6 billion) with over 1,640 game projects benefitting from the financial support.

A report from pressure group Taxwatch UK in 2020 pointed out the huge amount of money that Grand Theft Auto maker Rockstar had claimed in tax relief during 2019. The studio defended its self from this, saying that this cash had helped it create over 1,000 jobs in the UK.

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.