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As of 1 August 2023, the FPS Finance will adopt a stricter position on when to notify Belspo of an R&D project or programme. From then on, you must notify Belspo before the project or programme start date. Check to see if you need to take action!
To qualify for the exemption from advance payment of withholding tax for research and development, the research or development projects or programmes (R&D projects or programmes) must be notified to the Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy (Belspo).
The notification must contain the following information:
The administrative position until now determined that the exemption can only be applied from the month of notification of the project or programme to Belspo, even if the start date of the project or programme was before this notification.
Example: a research project runs over 24 months. During the 10th month, the project is notified to Belspo. The exemption can be applied from the 10th month, i.e. the month in which the project is notified. Retroactive application of the exemption from the 1st month (a month in which the project was not yet notified) is not possible.
In its decision of 6 January 2023, the Court of Cassation adopts a stricter position than the FPS Finance. The Court states that notification must take place prior to the start date of the R&D projects or programmes.
The FPS Finance follows the Court of Cassation's decision and will adopt a stricter position as of 1 August 2023. In this way, the employers concerned can adapt their internal procedures to this new position.
As of 1 August 2023, notification of an R&D project or programme must take place before the start date of that project or programme. In practice, this means that the exemption will only apply to the remuneration of eligible staff in R&D projects or programmes that have not yet started if these projects or programmes have been notified to Belspo prior to their start date.
Example: a research project starts on 1 September 2023. The project is notified to Belspo on 24 August 2023. Notification of the project takes place before the project started. The exemption can be applied to the remuneration of eligible staff participating in the research project.
We make the following distinction:
Do you have any questions about the FPS Finance's stricter position? Or would you like more information on the conditions of application of the exemption from advance payment of withholding tax for research and development? Contact our Legal Consultants at GEConsulting@partena.be.
Sources: Circular 2023/C/49 on the time of notification for the exemption from advance payment of withholding tax for researchers; Belspo Notice - Notification to Belspo as of 01/08/2023.
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