Rockstar paid no tax in UK for 10 years, claims 37.6m GBP tax break for GTA 6 development

Written by Arnhawl on Tue, Jan 21, 2020 11:39 AM
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Rockstar North have very much been keeping details about the next title in the Grand Theft Auto series close to their chests, but the company’s tax returns may have just confirmed that it is, in fact, in the works. 

A report published by TaxWatch UK revealed that Rockstar North had claimed £37.6 million in tax breaks via the Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR), which is to be spent creating 1,000 UK based jobs to work on upcoming titles, one of which is Grand Theft Auto VI. Thank god Rockstar secured that vital funding, having earned ‘just’ $6 billion from GTA 5 (as of 2018), we’ve no idea how it could possibly afford to develop GTA VI without that crucial £37.6m in taxpayer funding. Ahem.

“The UK’s program to support the growth of a broad range of creative industries through tax relief is a proven success,” a Rockstar spokesperson told VG247. [The VGTR] has directly resulted in Rockstar Games significantly increasing its investment in the UK, creating well over 1,000 high skilled and long term jobs.” 

In order to qualify for a tax relief via the VGTR, companies must be able to prove their game is ‘culturally British’ - a feat which has been achieved by games such as Goat Simulator, Halo Wars 2, and Grand Theft Auto V of course. Nothing says Britain quite like Team Slayer on Blood Gulch (give it six months).

Since the VGTR was first established, £324 million has been claimed, with a massive chunk of this going towards large games companies like Rockstar North, drawing criticism about the scheme’s effectiveness. 

TaxWatch UK said, “The VGTR claim means that for the fourth year running the company has paid no UK Corporation Tax, despite the Rockstar group racking up more than $6bn sales of Grand Theft Auto V since it was released 

“The stats tell us that Rockstar claimed at least five times the amount of its next biggest rival in 2019, making it by far the largest production in the UK that year. We await to see whether any profit from this huge investment by the UK taxpayer makes its way back to the UK.

Rockstar’s defence, naturally, is it’s a large employer within the UK. As stated, Rockstar employs over 1,000 developers, all individually paying more tax than the company itself. But, as an example, if we were to assume these employees have a rather generous average income of £80,000 each, this would mean they would be paying income tax of just shy of £20m, as well as £5.5 million in National Insurance contributions, well short of the £37.6 million tax break claimed by Rockstar last year.

Wherever you may stand on big business tax breaks, I think we can probably all get on board with a bit of GTA 6. Now it's just time to find out how 'culturally British' it is...

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16:54 Jan-21-2020

Jim Sterling covered this(3 months ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRWCr90Lhxw&t=5s) before how big video game publishers use tax havens to make money off law loop holes.

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14:45 Jan-21-2020

All tax deduction from all countries should be removed...

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12:25 Jan-21-2020

That's how all the big boys do it haha.

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14:46 Jan-21-2020

Yeah... but when a random person doesn't pay tax for a month, they go after him like that person is about to bring the end of the world...

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16:03 Jan-21-2020

ahaha! same in every country

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16:04 Jan-21-2020

sadly

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17:38 Jan-21-2020

Yup, or unless you make below the min tax rate then you dont pay or file at all haha.

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20:39 Jan-21-2020

Yeah, unfortunately the tax rate in my country is quite low. If you have more than 31k euros on your bank (can be spread through different bank(s) (and) accounts) you pay tax over it.

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20:37 Jan-21-2020

That 1000 euros that the one individual saves by avoiding paying taxes is worth more than a company saving millions in tax. Logics

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00:28 Jan-22-2020

Expecting logic from laws and law enforcement is simply illogical.

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12:01 Jan-21-2020

So you're telling me, the greedy and money grabbing bastards of rockstar are grabbing taxmoney and are greedy? Who would have thought?!
In other news: WATER IS WET!

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16:04 Jan-21-2020

ICE is COLD .

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16:07 Jan-21-2020

Ice is hot compared to liquid nitrogen. :P

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16:14 Jan-21-2020

Once, this guy Virate went on Motorcycle Taxi, requests the driver to give him window seat.

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16:16 Jan-21-2020

I'd like to drive the motorcycle too, and the Taxi driver can just chill. XD

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16:23 Jan-21-2020

yeah! but i doubt if u got my PJ

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16:45 Jan-21-2020

I did, motorcycles don't have side windows, some don't have a front window/protector/I forgot it's real name. :D

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22:11 Jan-21-2020

Water isnt wet ;)

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