Rockstar North, makers of the Grand Theft Auto series, has been found to have paid no corporation tax between 2009 and 2018, according to a report from thinktank Tax Watch UK.
The Edinburgh-based company, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, was estimated by the thinktank to have profits of up to $5bn (£4bn) between 2013 and 2019.
During that time, the game developer released Grand Theft Auto V, which took £1bn in its first three days of release in 2013, and is one of the most successful entertainment products of all time.
Take-Two has a market value of $13.1bn (£10bn), with senior staff at the developers splitting bonuses of up to $3.4bn (£2.7bn) in the period between 2009 and 2019. It has also been found that Rockstar North also claimed £42m in Video Games Tax Relief, which was designed to help smaller producers of “culturally British” games.
To qualify, games must score at least 16 out of 31 points, which are attributed to “British settings, characters and development”, and “promoting cultural diversity”. The game set in a fictionalised California, qualified for the tax credits in 2015.
George Turner, director of TaxWatch said: “It is outrageous that the UK taxpayer is being asked to shell out tens of millions of pounds in subsidies to the developers of Grand Theft Auto, when at the time that the game’s developers put in their tax credit application Grand Theft Auto V had already generated several billion dollars in sales and profits.
“The Video Games Tax Relief was designed to help developers of games with a cultural content that would struggle to sell in the international market. The fact that such a large amount of that relief is going to the developers of Grand Theft Auto clearly shows that the relief is not working as intended.”