UK games industry trade group TIGA today published a new report called "Powering a high technology recovery: proposals for improving R&D tax credits," which continues to urge the government to improve the research and development tax credit to better support the interactive entertainment industry.
The report focuses on how the R&D tax credits system can be improved for the UK games industry. TIGA says that its proposals for the R&D tax credits would "deliver 60 - 75 percent more value to games studios than the current R&D tax credit regime." This, it says would enable studios to invest more in R&D, generate and retain new IP, and hire more development staff.
TIGA offers the following key proposals:
Scope: The scope of R&D tax credits credit should be expanded to include other associated costs incurred in the development of a new game: premises costs, the costs of applying for IP protection and design costs.
Rate of relief: The rate of relief under the SME R&D tax credit scheme should be increased from 175% of qualifying expenditure to at least 200%. This would mean that for every pound that an SME spends of qualifying expenditure it would get two pounds of tax deduction which it would use to reduce its corporation tax.
Assistance for loss making companies: SME R&D tax relief should be reformed to help loss making companies. At present, loss making businesses receive 24p for every £1 spent on qualifying expenditure. This should be increased to 28p for every £1 spent, so that loss making, R&D intensive firms also share in our proposed rate of relief.
Process: The claims process should be simplified. Developers should have a named contact within their HMRC R&D Unit to approach with questions about the eligibility of their costs and activities. Further, it would be helpful if the Government could speed up the delivery of the R&D tax relief, which is of course a retrospective form of assistance, and commit to a deadline for approval and settlement of each claim.
"This report highlights how the R&D tax credits system can be reformed to power a high technology recovery," said Tiga CEO Richard Wilson. "The UK video games industry is a high tech, highly skilled and export oriented industry that needs the right support from Government to continue to flourish. The R&D tax credits system should be reformed to promote additional investment in R&D particularly in small and medium sized enterprises. We call on the Government to support the UK video games industry by introducing TIGA’s proposals to improve the R&D tax credits in the forthcoming Budget."