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UKIE and TIGA submit proposals for tax relief test

Reports emphasise the need to recognise the diversity of companies in UK development

UKIE and TIGA, the trade bodies that represent the UK games industry, have submitted their recommendations for the cultural test that will decide which companies are eligible for tax relief.

Despite sharing a common purpose, UKIE and TIGA normally function as separate entities. However, on this issue, UKIE shared its recommendations with TIGA in order to approach the UK government with a "consistent voice."

Both reports emphasise the importance of recognising coding as a vital part of the creative process. They also highlight the way that employees of smaller companies - common in UK game development - often fulfil several roles on any given project, and should be awarded points in accordance with their full contribution.

TIGA and UKIE both propose that "service providers," like motion capture studios, should also be eligible for points. However, TIGA goes into more detail on this point, asking for the addition of other key roles not represented by the current test, including concept artists, producers and assistant producers. TIGA has also requests that points should be awarded for "artistic costs" if they comprise more than 25 per cent of the budget - the government's original proposal was 50 per cent.

UKIE highlights the need for game development's cultural test to be brought into line with that for film production. This includes the raising the maximum point allocation from 30 to 31, and raising the allocation of points for games made in the English language from 2 to 4.

And in recognition of gaming's focus on fantastic worlds, alien species and non-traditional narratives, both TIGA and UKIE have asked the government to make such products eligible for points.

"UKIE's response outlines how we can have a rigorous test, meeting the needs of the EU state aid process, but a fair one that accurately reflects how games are made in the UK today and who makes them," said Jo Twist, CEO of UKIE, in a statement.

"We have also made recommendations that will help make sure that the test recognises all parts of the games industry, from the traditional console and PC markets to the mobile and social games that have emerged in recent years."

"We propose some adjustments to the cultural test, including the provision of multiple points to individuals fulfilling multiple roles at smaller companies," said Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA. "This is vital if smaller studios are also to benefit from games tax relief. In start-ups and smaller studios it's not unusual to find, for example, that the manager, lead programmer and lead designer are the same person."

Both sets of recommendations were drafted following individual and roundtable meetings with companies of all types and sizes. UKIE also issued an online survey.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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