October 19, 2021


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Research tax credit: which personnel expenses are eligible?

Commercial, industrial, craft or agricultural companies, which are taxed according to a real regime, can benefit from a research tax credit (CIR) for the research and development (R&D) expenditure they incur. This tax advantage also benefits certain companies exempt from income tax as well as commercial companies exercising a non-commercial activity.

Note: the research tax credit amounts, per calendar year, to 30% of eligible expenses. This rate is lowered to 5% for expenses incurred above € 100 million. Innovation expenses incurred by SMEs give rise to a tax credit equal to 20% of eligible expenses, withheld within the overall limit of € 400,000 per year.

Among the expenses to be taken into account are personnel expenses. This mainly concerns the remuneration, and the corresponding compulsory social contributions, of researchers and research technicians who are directly and exclusively assigned to R&D operations. In this regard, the tax authorities have specified that expenditure relating to temporary workers is also eligible when they constitute research personnel directly and exclusively assigned to R&D operations.

On the other hand, according to her, expenses related to support staff should be excluded. In this regard, the administration indicated that the support activities are those which do not fall directly within the scientific and technical tasks of R&D and which are not carried out by personnel qualified for R&D. These include, for example, administrative, managerial, legal, regulatory, commercial, transport, warehousing, servicing and maintenance, safety and quality activities. It considers that these expenses are covered by the lump sum relating to operating expenses.

Clarification: operating expenses are part of the expenses giving rise to the right to the CIR. They are assessed on a flat-rate basis, in principle, at 43% of eligible personnel costs and at 75% of the depreciation allowance for fixed assets allocated to research.

BOI-BIC-RICI-10-10-20-20 of July 13, 2021, n ° 80 and 140