Insights Ukie reports on new video games tax relief (VGTR) data from HMRC


The new HMRC data shows that to date 1,640 video games have claimed VGTR since the relief was introduced, totalling £4.4 billion of UK game development expenditure of an overall expenditure of £6.4 billion.

Ukie reports that 2020-2021 saw new annual records set both for the number of games supported by VGTR and the value of the relief paid out, with 640 titles receiving a total of £180 million across 350 claims. For 2019-2020, the corresponding figures were £121 million of relief for 610 titles, a 48% increase in tax relief paid out.

Ukie says that the number of claims made within each value band has remained broadly consistent across the past several years, but the total relief paid to claims over £500,000 increased markedly in 2020-2021. The total value of the relief paid out to claims over £500,000 was 63% higher this year than in 2019-2020 against an increase in the number of claims of only 22%. In 2020-2021, 55 claims of more than £500,000 equated to 16% of all claims made but the £156 million total paid out represented 87% of the total value of this year’s payments. HMRC note that this is due to the timing of a small number of high-value claims so these figures may not directly represent video game production activity in 2020-2021, although they do suggest a healthy and valuable sector that has grown despite the broader challenges of the last 18 months.

There were 165 claims of values below £50,000, representing 47% of all 2020-2021 claims and a further 37% of claims were for amounts between £50,000 and £500,000, demonstrating the importance of the relief to games studios of all sizes in the UK.

To date, the 160 games completed in 2020-2021 represent £570 million of UK expenditure, from a total expenditure of £715 million. These numbers are provisional and are likely to rise, as a further 100 games (representing £1.3 billion of UK expenditure) are recorded as incomplete but may have completed development in 2020-2021.

Since the relief was introduced in 2014, a total of £624 million has been paid out in relation to 1,815 claims for 2,705 video games.

Ukie says that across all these figures, there may be further increases for 2020-2021 as games companies can make claims up to two years after the completion of a project. To read Ukie’s press release in full and for a link to the HMRC figures, click here.