R&D tax benefits: only limited time to take action

Written by Nicolas de Limbourg 16 October 2014


Several measures have been taken to stimulate investments in R&D. One of these measures is the partial exemption of remittance of Belgian withholding taxes in the framework of research and development.

As of July 2013, the exemption increased from 75% to 80%. Besides the increase in percentage, since 1 January 2014, a notification obligation has been imposed in order to facilitate future tax audits and to fight any improper use of this measure.

Registration should be done electronically. The company will have to answer a list of questions for each project, allowing the Belgian Department of Scientific Policy (Belspo) to check whether the conditions have been complied with. Registration in principle will be followed by a check of each registered file, without any requirement to comply with a specific timeframe. If the project is refused, a retrospective adjustment may actually take place. Although registration in principle must be based on the project, a one-off simplified registration is possible for R&D divisions/centres that are involved in scientific research activities on a permanent basis.

Irrespective of whether it concerns a notification on a project basis or one of a division carrying out R&D activities on a permanent basis, notification should be done before 31 December 2014. Since all existing R&D projects or programmes have to be registered on 1 January 2015 at the latest (with a risk of retrospective adjustment in the case where Belspo would not consider the activities as being activities carried out in the field of R&D), we would be pleased to assist you with these formalities.

Please note that we have arranged several meetings with Belspo in the coming months in order to duly inform the department of the companies that carry out R&D activities on a structural basis (remaining available time slots are limited).

If you would like any further assistance with respect to this notification, please do not hesitate to contact Myriam Boudinar (+32 2 710 44 18) or Kim Meerschman (+32 9 268 83 01).