ANNOUNCEMENT 27 Mar 2014In March 2014, the British government announced a targeted tax change.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Official letter from the EC to the UK in English, SA.36139:
On 27 March 2014, the European Commission allowed British authorities to introduce a tax relief for certain video games. The idea behind the state aid was to "provide an incentive to video games developers to produce culturally British or European video games" (para. 5, letter from the EC to the UK, Brussels 27.3.2014).
Potential beneficiaries of the measure are all British video game developers producing video games with a cultural content as opposed to games that are purely for entertainment.
The expected budget until the end of March 2017 amounts to about EUR 208 million and is financed by HM Treasury. The assessment of British cultural games shall be conducted by the British Film Institute Certification Unit. The chosen games would then be subject to a tax relief on expenditure on goods and services used or consumed in the UK up to a value of 25%.
The Commission stated that "the measure is designed to reduce the production costs of the benefiting undertakings and constitutes an economic advantage for them. It is limited to companies in the video game sector and is therefore selective. Finally, it has an effect on trade and competition between Member States, as games are also produced in other Member States and traded internationally." (para. 36)
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.