Video game tax credit : a powerful tax incentive for video creators
You are video game editor and you wish to implant yourself in Europe? Consider France, along with its skilled labor in this sector and its video game tax credit, which can go up to M€ 6 per year.
Background & Principle
To encourage numerous players to make their video games in France, it instituted the Video Games Tax Credit (CIJV).
To this end, the French cultural exception was put forward to obtain the agreement of the European Commission. As a result, the cultural aspect is paramount in this scheme.
The Crédit d’Impôt Jeux Vidéo (CIJV) is therefore designed to subsidize expenditures incurred by companies in developing and marketing video games that meet this cultural criterion.
Which companies can be eligible for the video game tax credit?
The company has to be subject to corporate tax in France. Hence, it can be either a branch or a subsidiary of a foreign or French corporation.
The tax credit is specifically designated for companies that create video games. As per the Movie Code, a company is considered as a video game creator if it fulfills the following criteria: (i) it is responsible for the artistic and technical production of the video game, and (ii) it initiates and bears the expenses required to create the video game.
What are the video-games targeted by this tax credit ?
Video games must meet 4 cumulative conditions:
The video game must meet the definition set out in the French Cinema Code (artistic creation, interaction with users around a scripted and simulated storyline using moving images) and contribute to the diversity of French or European creation,
The video game must be (i) written in whole or in part (i) by the company or by authors of French or European nationality, (ii) with contextualized (non-excessive) violence (iii) promote French cultural heritage,
Development costs exceed €100,000, and the game is intended to be marketed to the general public or made available online,
In terms of form, the video game is subject to prior (or provisional) approval by the Centre National du Cinéma (CNC),
– a preliminary (or provisional) approval before execution,
– final approval,
The company’s relations with members of the CNC are likely to facilitate obtaining these approvals.
In practice, (i) all necessary expenses, net of subsidies received in connection with the Video Game (VG), for the production of the VG are eligible for this tax credit: personnel costs allocated to the creation of the game, copyright, depreciation of equipment, subcontracting if from the EU zone (capped at €2M), etc. On the last point, subcontracting outside the EU is not eligible for the CIJV in order to respect the European nature of the creation.
Expenditures become eligible from the date of provisional approval and cease to be eligible 36 months before the date of final approval.
Eligible expenses are capped at 20M€ over a 12-month fiscal year. It enables a 30% tax reduction. In other words, the tax credit can be as high as € 6 million per fiscal year.
Can the company this tax credit be accumulated with others?
The company that claims it can also benefit from all innovation-oriented tax credits such as
- the Research Tax Credit (CIR: Crédit d’Impôt Recherche in French),
- the Collaborative tax credit (CICO, Crédit d’Impôt Collaboratif in French),
- the Innovative Tax Credit (Crédit d’Impôt Innovation),
- the Young Innovative Company status (JEI: Jeune entreprise Innovante in French).
However, the same expenses can be used for one scheme only. (Expenses of some programs may overlap each other)