To apply for the cultural test, there must be one video games development company (VGDC) that is registered with Companies House and within the UK corporation tax net. The VGDC must be set up before development/design work begins and have responsibility for all aspects of the video game making process from design and development through to testing and delivery.
The cultural test is a points-based test where the project needs 16 of a possible 31 points to pass. It comprises four sections:
- Cultural content (up to 16 points).
- Cultural contribution (up to 4 points).
- Cultural hubs (up to 3 points).
- Cultural practitioners (up to 8 points).
Applicants can apply for interim certification at any point before or during development and production. Interim certification is essential if you wish to claim video game tax relief during development. The Interim certificate will be valid for three years, beginning on the date specified on the certificate.
A final application must be submitted once the video game is complete; applications for a final certificate should therefore not be submitted prior to completion of a video game. A video game is completed when it is first in a form in which it can reasonably be regarded as ready to be made available to the general public.
The online application form below can be used for interim and final certification.
Please read the guidance notes which will help you complete your application.
HMRC’s Video Games Development Company Manual that details how to claim the video games tax relief after your certificate is issued can be found here:
To make an application, please proceed to the online application form below:
A hard copy statutory declaration must be completed in conjunction with a printed copy of your online application form (please see the Supporting Documents section below for further information).
You will be asked to set up an account before completing the application form.
To apply for final certification you have to complete a new form, even if you have previously completed an interim application.
To access in-progress and submitted applications, you can log in to your account by clicking on the link below:
A printed hardcopy of your full application with a completed statutory declaration must be sent to us in order for us to begin our assessment.
Where an individual in a position other than the director or secretary of the video games development company has signed the statutory declaration the company director or company secretary will need to let us know in writing that they have been authorised to do so. This can be sent via email.
The BFI requires additional supporting material to complete its assessment of your application. The following documents are requested and can be attached to your online application form:
- Video game scripts or equivalent (if applicable) to demonstrate language and content.
- Complete treatment, game design documents or synopsis of the video game.
- Visual material such as screenshots, gameplay footage, storyboards or concept art.
- Video game schedule/production schedule.
- Production budget (interim)/final cost report (final) – the most up-to-date copy of the total long-form budget.
- A copy of the chain of title (e.g. writer’s agreement or equivalent documents) – the most up-to-date copy (only if applying for points under section A3(b) to demonstrate the video game is written by a British/EEA citizen or resident).
If you are applying for final certification we will also require a version of the finished project and a hard copy of the accountant’s report if you are applying for points in sections C and D.
An Underlying Material Declaration can be accepted in place of a chain of title if applying for points under section A3(b). The below template can be downloaded, completed and brought to a solicitor, public notary or justice of the peace to be administered. Please send a draft of this document to the BFI Certification Unit for approval before having it administered.
A budget template is also available if required. Please note that this template is intended to be exhaustive and it is not expected that there be expenditure in every section included. This template is also a good reference for how granular your budget is expected to be.
A template schedule is available below. Please note that this template is intended as a resource and your schedule does not need to follow this format.
The application form with the statutory declaration and any supporting documents must be sent to:
The Certification Unit , British Film Institute, 21 Stephen Street , London , W1T 1LN.
We will be happy to discuss your application in person or via phone or email. Telephone Anna Mansi, BFI, Head of Certification, on +44 (0)20 7173 3214 or email email@example.com.