How to get your UK Games Tax Relief

After a long, hard campaign, UK Games Tax Relief is finally here. It took a lot of work by a lot of people to get to this point, and we are confident it will be well worth it.

You might think it's not for your company, but we worked hard to make sure everyone in the industry can benefit. On this page we answer some of the worries people have voiced, and explain how you can claim the relief.

We've published a guide to everything that you need to know about games tax relief.

Read our guide to the tax relief here

You can apply today:

you need to start with the Cultural Test

You get 20% of your production costs back

The tax relief gives you a 25% credit back on your production expenditure - the money you spend on actual development, not including marketing, PR or other costs.

You can only claim it on the first 80% of those costs, however. This ultimately means that you will get roughly 20% of your production budget back as a payment from HMRC.

You can claim for costs from 1 April 2014

You can claim relief on any money you spend from 1st April this year to make a qualifying game - the scheme is live. 

The Cultural Test is more flexible than you think

The cultural test that has been put in place is very flexible. It is modelled on the test that exists for film tax relief, which has allowed a very broad range of films to be supported in recent years.

You will need 16 out of 31 possible points, and can get points based on many different factors. The four categories are the content of the game - story, characters, location etc; the 'cultural contribution', such as how it reflects British culture; where it is made; and the citizenship or residency of the people who make it.

And if you have any questions, make sure that you speak to the BFI team (who administer the test). They are there to help you pass, not to stop you getting the relief. 

Put your game through the Cultural Test

The scheme applies to businesses of all sizes

Ukie worked hard from the very beginning to make sure that this tax relief can benefit every type of games developer in the UK.

Unlike in other countries, there is no minimum budget that your game must have. And there are no restrictions on the size or type of your company.

It works for mobile games and new business models

There is nothing at all in the rules that stops a mobile game claiming the tax relief. Indeed, we have made sure from the beginning that the Government was aware of the importance of supporting this vital part of the games industry, which will provide so much future growth.

Even more importantly, the tax relief can be claimed for continued post-release development of a game. We made sure that the Government was aware of how vital the games-as-a-service model is for the modern games industry, and will continue to be in future. As a result, you will be able to continue claiming the credit on a game that you keep working on after release.

It's easy to register as a limited company

It is true that you must be a limited company, registered in the UK tax system, in order to claim the relief. This is because it works as a credit against corporation tax.

In case you think that's an unfair burden to impose, it now costs just £15 to register a new company with Companies House, and it can be done online in almost no time right here.

There are plenty of other benefits to doing this as well, not least that you will be able to claim back VAT on many purchases.

It's not complicated to apply

You will only need three things to claim the tax relief:

  1. A certificate that your game passes the cultural test, which you can get from the BFI;
  2. Your business's normal tax return, in which you will be able to claim the relief; and
  3. Your business's statutory accounts

If you don't feel confident doing this yourself, you can of course get an accountant to help you. This might also help make sure you get the most benefit out of it. Several accountants are willing to offer introductory discounts to Ukie members.

Ukie member deals

We have put a number of deals in place with tax / accountancy experts who will support Ukie members games tax relief applications. All firms will offer you, as a Ukie member, free advice and consultation on games tax relief and also agree preferential rates. We are only working with companies who have an expertise in games and / or creative industries. You should contact them, mention Ukie and see how they can help.

Blu Sky Chartered Accountants
Jon Dudgeon
T: 0191 258 7676​
Free consultation and lower fees as Ukie member

Mark Hartley, High Growth Technology Group
T: 020 7694 1190
Free consultation and preferential rates

Lucraft Hodgson & Dawes LLP
Will Taylor
T: 01273 321526​
Consultation and special rates for Ukie members

Myriad Associates
Ian Moss / Barrie Dowsett
T: 01858 414 249
Free consultation, no win no fee model, reduced rates – extra reductions for R&D AND games tax relief

Saffery Champness
Nigel Walde, Director – Film, TV and Media
T: 020 7841 4249
Moses Nyachae, Director – Film, TV and Media
T: 020 7841 4135
Free consultation and lower fees as Ukie member