Video games: Commission investigates Belgian aid scheme
Thursday, 30 April 2020
The European Commission is investigating whether Belgium’s aid scheme to support video game production is in line with EU state aid rules, it announced on Thursday.
In 2014, the Commission approved a so-called tax shelter to support film production in Belgium. This means that companies investing in film production in Belgium benefit from a tax advantage, provided they spend a certain amount of money on the territory.
A year ago, that tax shelter was extended to the production of video games, with the same conditions for territorial expenditure.
However, the Commission had “exceptionally authorised” the tax shelter conditions because of the specificities of film production, which is very mobile by nature, the Commission said, and the exception was to be interpreted in a restrictive way, in view of the need to maintain a critical mass of infrastructure for film production in each Member State.
At this stage, therefore, the Commission “doubts that the application of such an exception can be justified in relation to video games”.
With the opening of an in-depth investigation, Belgium and interested third parties will have the opportunity to provide the Commission with comments.