Thanks in large part to lobbying from the eight-person B.C. Interactive Task Force, which represents 30 local videogame makers, the Canadian province of British Columbia is now the proud purveyor of shiny new tax credits for interactive developers.
The Interactive Digital Tax Credit was passed by local legislature late last week and provides a 17.5 percent tax credit for labor on projects commencing after August 31. To qualify, productions must feature two out of the following three components: text, sound or images.
While the tax credit is an improvement, the Vancouver Sun notes that the percentages “pale” when compared to those offered by other Canadian provinces:
Nova Scotia offers 50 per cent of labour and up to 25 per cent of total productions costs. Manitoba offers 40 per cent of labour, the same percentage as Ontario, which also offers 40 per cent of marketing and distribution costs. Quebec, B.C.'s main Canadian competitor, offers up to 37.5 per cent of labour.
Nevertheless, local leaders seem pleased. B.C. Interactive Task Force Chairman Howard Donaldson, who is also Vice President of Studio Operations for Disney Interactive Studios, stated, “The new tax credit is already generating significant attention, both here in B.C. from the current studios, as well as from other global publishers who are looking to locate new operations or make new investments.”
B.C.’s Minister of Finance Colin Hansen added, “The tax credit, coupled with B.C.'s other unique advantages, including an attractive location and highly-skilled and well-trained workforce, will continue to foster B.C.'s competitiveness worldwide."
An Electronic Arts press release stated that the program was spurred by local employment in the industry falling “dramatically” over the past two years.
The Sun reported that the task force “met with the provincial government at least 10 times” over the past year in attempting to get the deal done.