SAZ recommends: Check current License Statements thoroughly!
Currently, the publishers send the license statements for the last billing period, mostly for the second half of 2017. Despite all the joy of the upcoming payments, we recommend from actual experience to check these statements very closely for the following points:
- Are all domestic and foreign editions of the game and other uses correctly listed in the statement? See also the special article on foreign issues and sub-licenses.
- Are the percentages correct? Especially important for relay fees, if the agreed quantities are exceeded!
- Are the calculated sums and all other data correct?
- In the case of fixed amounts per copy sold, were they adjusted to last year's net sales price? Here it helps to request the current price list annually.
- Were advance payments only charged to the accounts for the games for which they were paid? The publishers frequently bill such advance payments with other games of the author under the publisher. This is not permitted unless otherwise agreed by contract.
- For domestic authors liable to VAT: Was the VAT properly declared at the reduced rate of 7% for copyright services? A number of smaller publishers have still not understood that and account for 19%. These percentages are valid in Germany. Please check your local tax laws.
- For domestic taxpayers: were advance payments deducted as a net amount from net royalty income and only then (like it is supposed to be) the matches the payed gross amount – or was the gross amount of the advance payment deducted from the gross sum licenses? For the gross method, the VAT shown does not match the current payment and is therefore not tax-correct. See also the following example:
- For statements of publishers based in Germany: Does the license statement or credit note comply with all tax regulations? The author often receives just an excel list without the information required for publishers based in Germany, if the publishers issue the credit note without an invoice by the author: Current invoice / credit number, tax no. or USt-ID of the publisher, tax no. or USt-ID of the credit recipient or alternatively the reference to § 19.1 UStG for non-VAT domestic payers or to § 13b UStG for recipients abroad.
This information and advice has been prepared in cooperation with our legal advisor and our tax consultant. We offer our members professional advice and support. So it is worthwhile to be or to become a member of the Game Designers Association (SAZ).