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The UK is offering tax relief, but only if your game is  really  British

The UK is offering tax relief, but only if your game is really British

December 11, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi




The British government will begin a tax relief program for game developers starting this April, but unless your game has a British theme, you might have a hard time qualifying for it.

As we previously reported, the UK's finance ministry is set to offer one of the most generous tax reliefs for game development in the world for what it's calling "culturally British video games."

Exactly what that meant was unclear at the time, but on Tuesday the ministry unveiled the specifics of its "cultural test," which developers must pass in order to qualify.

Essentially, games are deemed "British" based on a points scale determined by a simple test. Of the 16 points required to pass, the biggest points are awarded if a game "is set in the United Kingdom or another EEA state," whether the lead characters in a game are British, if the game depicts "a British story," and if the majority of in-game dialogue is recorded in English.

Developers hoping to make games that don't necessarily have a clear geographical setting or, indeed, games without characters and story, may have a hard time meeting the requirements.

More details are available on this PDF, though we've reproduced the video game cultural test below:

(1) A video game may be certified as a British video game under section 1217CB(1) of the Act only if it passes the following cultural test.

(2) A video game passes the cultural test if it is awarded at least 16 points in total under paragraphs (3) to (6).

(3) Up to 16 points shall be awarded in respect of the content of the video game as followsâ€"

(a) up to 4 points depending on the percentage of the video game that is set in the following locationsâ€"

(i) 4 points if at least 75% is set in the United Kingdom or another EEA state;
(ii) 3 points if at least 66% is set in the United Kingdom or another EEA state or set in an undetermined location;
(iii) 2 points if at least 50% is set in the United Kingdom or another EEA state or set in an undetermined location;
(iv) 1 point if at least 25% is set in the United Kingdom or another EEA state or set in an undetermined location;

(b) up to 4 points depending on the number of the characters depicted in the video game with the following characteristicsâ€"

(i) if there are more than three characters depicted in the video game, 4 points if two or three of the three lead characters are from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location or, if only one of the three lead characters is from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location, 2 points if that character is the first or second lead, 1 point if that character is the third lead;
(ii) if there are only three characters depicted in the video game, 4 points if two or three of them are from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location or, if only one of them is from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location, 2 points if that character is the first or second lead, 1 point if that character is the third lead;
(iii) if there are only two characters depicted in the video game, 4 points if both of them are from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location, 2 points if one of them is;
(iv) if there is only one character depicted in the video game, 4 points if that character is from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location;

(c) 4 points if the video game depicts a British story or a story which relates to an EEA state; (d) up to 4 points depending on the percentage of the original dialogue that is recorded in the English language or in a recognised regional or minority language as followsâ€"

(i) 4 points for at least 75%;
(ii) 3 points for at least 66%;
(iii) 2 points for at least 50%;
(iv) 1 point for at least 25%.

(4) Up to 4 points may be awarded in respect of the contribution of the video game to the promotion, development and enhancement of British culture.

(5) Up to 3 points shall be awarded in respect of work carried out in the making of the video game as followsâ€"

(a) 2 points if at least 50% of the work carried out on any of the following is carried out in the United Kingdomâ€"

(i) conceptual development;
(ii) layout and storyboarding;
(iii) programming;
(iv) visual design;

(b) 1 point if at least 50% of the work carried out on any of the following is carried out in the United Kingdomâ€"

(i) performing and recording the music score created for the video game;
(ii) voice recording;
(iii) audio production;
(iv) picture production.

(6) Up to 8 points shall be awarded in respect of the personnel involved in the making of the video game as followsâ€"

(a) 1 point if the project leader (or, if there is more than one, the main project leader) is a qualifying person;
(b) 1 point if at least one of the scriptwriters (or, if there are more than three, one of the three lead scriptwriters) is a qualifying person;
(c) 1 point if the composer (or, if there is more than one, the lead composer) is a qualifying person;
(d) 1 point if the artist (or, if there is more than one, the lead artist) is a qualifying person;
(e) 1 point if the programmer (or, if there is more than one, the lead programmer) is a qualifying person;
(f) 1 point if the designer (or, if there is more than one, the lead designer) is a qualifying person;
(g) 1 point if at least one of the heads of department is a qualifying person;
(h) 1 point if at least 50% of the development team are qualifying persons.


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