The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, Catherine Martin, have today (Monday) launched the Tax Credit for Digital Games.
Ministers Donohoe and Martin attended a launch event hosted by the digital gaming company “Black Shamrock” in the Guinness Enterprise Centre and formally signed the regulations to give full effect to the legislation. This follows approval of the credit by the European Commission in recent weeks.
The relief will take the form of a refundable corporation tax credit available to digital games development companies for qualifying expenditure incurred on the design, production and testing of a digital game. It will be available at a rate of 32% of eligible expenditure up to a maximum limit of €25 million per project. There will also be a per project minimum spend requirement of €100,000.
Ireland has an international reputation for excellence in the arts. It is government policy to support the development of a vibrant media production and audiovisual sector in the State. The introduction of the Tax Credit for Digital Games aims to capitalise on the synergies with our established film and animation sectors to support the expression of Irish and European culture, and to support quality employment in creative and digital arts in Ireland.
In welcoming the measure, Minister Donohoe stated:
“I am delighted to announce the launch of the Tax Credit for Digital Games. Ireland is already a world leader in other areas of the audiovisual sector including film, television and animation production, I believe that this credit will be instrumental in replicating such successes in the digital gaming sector. The introduction of this credit will ensure that Ireland is competitive in an industry that is estimated to be worth up to €260 billion.”
Speaking today, Minister Martin said:
“Digital games and growing employment and output from Ireland’s games sector is a key part of the government’s Audio-visual Action Plan. The Digital Games Tax Credit will lead to support for the development of indigenous games companies along with increased investment from overseas games companies looking to locate in Ireland. Today is an important day for the expanding Irish Games industry and this Scheme will help to create jobs in the creative and digital arts in Ireland.”
Craig Stephens of Imirt, the Irish video games industry association said:
“The launch of the Digital Games Tax Credit is a huge moment for the Irish video games industry; it will welcome a new era of development creativity. This globally significant 32% credit will support our existing games development talent, plus attract major investment from overseas. Ireland is ideally positioned to secure more of the rapidly expanding $300 billion worldwide industry."
The regulations will now be signed by the Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners thereby allowing digital games development companies to apply for an interim certificate from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for a qualifying digital game. It is expected certificate holders will then be able to apply for remuneration under the credit from Revenue from 1 January 2023.
The expected impact of a competitive games development incentive in Ireland will be to retain the operations of the main brands that are here through the addition of development activities, support the scaling up of indigenous developers, and to provide an attractive lure to international studios who have not already invested in Ireland.
There are 11 dedicated third and fourth level education games courses in Ireland as well as 50 other computer sciences and multimedia courses that are games relevant. The new tax incentive development of the industry could see a growth in job opportunities for the graduate output from these courses.
Industry estimates on the value of the global digital gaming market vary between €170 billion to €260 billion. The market is estimated to exceed the global film and music industries combined.
A 2017 report on the Irish audio-visual sector by Olsberg SPI, commissioned by the government, estimated that the video game industry generated €143 million in gross value added to the Irish economy in 2016. Industry estimates suggest Ireland’s digital gaming market could be worth €240 million. However games developed in Ireland account for a tiny portion of this figure, with approximately €1.2 million estimated to be attributable to Irish games in 2016.