Yesterday was an important day in our ongoing mission to expand the tax shelter to include the creation of video games. The converged bill that was submitted by Open VLD and CD&V has been approved in the Commission of Finance almost unanimously.
After a second reading, viewed by most as nothing more than a formality, the bill will have to pass Parliament. As nearly all parties have already voted for it, we don’t see any more complications on the national level.
This was obviously an important hurdle and we’re very glad that the years of lobbying by FLEGA, WALGA, screen.brussels and a number of key partners with a heart for video games ensured that it was taken rather swiftly. There’s a lot to be hopeful for, but there’s still a few steps before this bill comes into effect.
Similar to the budget increase of VAF/Gamefonds, the bill has to be approved by Europe. If they consider this a form of illegal state aid, there’s a very real chance this will be sent back to the drawing board. The stance of Europe and the timing when they will rule on this is currently unknown.
After European approval the bill (and all of its criteria) has to be made public in the Belgian Official Gazette. So once again, this bill is not yet in effect and we’re not quite sure when this will be the case. When we do, we will of course inform companies about the possibilities and way of working.
That being said, BelgianGames would still like to express our gratitude to the political parties (with special thanks to Vincent Van Quickenborne, Dirk Van Mechelen and Luc Van Biesen of Open VLD and Roel Deseyn, Jef Van den Bergh en Vincent Van Peteghem of CD&V for submitting the original proposals and keeping this on the political agenda) and everyone who already brought us this far.
As explained in this news item on VRT NWS (link in Dutch) we’re convinced tax shelter for video games will result in higher quality video games that will be able to compete internationally. With more investments our country will be able to generate more innovative jobs and as a result will be better equipped to counter the brain drain of world class students, like the ones that graduate at HOWEST, recognized as Best Game Development School worldwide for 2 years in a row. We also believe this will trigger more succesful crossmedia productions similar to some existing examples. And of course, all this will contribute to a long term healthy return for the Belgian economy.
It’s a win-win for everyone. C’mon Europe – it’s the final countdown!