R&D activities often go paired with the employment of so called “knowledge staff”, being employees who have obtained certain degrees in (computer) science, health care or product development.
To foster innovative entrepreneurship, a tax grant is put in place to allow innovative companies to retain a part of the professional withholding tax due on wages for “knowledge staff”. The tax grant can amount to 80% of the professional withholding tax due for a particular employee and is calculated on the employee's time commitment to R&D activities.
To qualify, a company should engage in research activities such as:
The development of commercially usable prototypes and pilot projects also qualify as experimental development if the prototype is the final commercial product but its production is too expensive to be used only for demonstration and validation purposes.
Employees with master's and bachelor's degrees in science, health care, computer science and product development are eligible for the application. For master degrees the company can benefit from a tax grant up to 80% of the withholding tax due. For bachelor degrees, the tax grant can reach up to 80% with a maximum of 50% (25% for middle sized and big companies) of the total exemption of the amount retained for the master degrees.
To apply the EPWT, research activities must be reported to BELSPO. We always recommend our clients to have BELSPO give a binding opinion on the research project. We’ll help you in defining and optimizing your R&D projects by putting in place the right processes to document and track all activities. BELSPO then verifies if all requirements such as diplomas, the research activities themselves and the determination of the research project are met. If BELSPO approves the application, this is binding for both the applicant and the tax authorities, giving you, as a company, legal certainty about the tax treatment of your withholding tax on these wage costs.
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