Rockstar Games has claimed £37.6 million in UK tax breaks from the Video Game Tax Relief Fund in 2019. And it is said that Rockstar Games is planning to spend this amount on the next Grand Theft Auto game-GTA 6 (via VG247).
Tax Watch UK, an investigative think tank, has published its report on Rockstar Games’ 2018/2019 tax returns. The report states that the company snapped up a serious share of the UK Video Games Tax Relief fund. The judgment takes place on the game’s setting, the location of the studio(s), and its employees. The judgment also takes its cultural contribution, and whether the game “reflects British creativity or not” into consideration. If studios score over half of a possible 31 points, they qualify for the tax break. In 2018/2019, Rockstar North in Edinburgh claimed almost 40 percent of the total tax relief claims in the industry.
Tax Watch UK isn’t happy about this. This is because last year, the think tank accused the publisher of not paying corporation tax between 2009 and 2018. Tax Watch UK said the publisher garnered an estimated profit of £4.1 billion during those nine years. The think tank added that Rockstar Games has soaked up a quarter of all the relief claimed from the government since the fund’s inception on only two games. This fact is critical to the rumored GTA 6, because “the company has not registered any other games as being ‘Culturally British,’ the pre-requisite required to qualify for the relief, since GTA V.” Therefore, Tax Watch UK is confident that the £37 million in tax relief received by Rockstar Games “relates to the production of the next edition of GTA, rumored to be scheduled for release soon.“
Companies can make interim claims for the tax relief fund while a game is in development, and Rockstar Games’ claims have accumulated to suggest that whatever its next project is will “cost far more than the $137m spent on GTA V.” With the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 pitching towards a late 2020 release, we may see what the publisher has been working away on with the launch of the next generation.