In the dynamic world of research and development (R&D), it is important to stay informed about changes in laws and regulations. Circular 2023/C/49 brings important news regarding the registration requirements for the exemption of the withholding tax payment for researchers in R&D projects. Starting from August 1 2023, a change in tax administration requires projects to be reported to the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) before their commencement to qualify for the incentive.
BELSPO plays a crucial role in promoting and financing scientific research and innovation in Belgium. To ensure transparency and compliance, the Court of Cassation made a groundbreaking ruling on January 6 2023, emphasizing the need to notify R&D projects and programs to BELSPO before their launch. This ruling introduces a stricter interpretation of the notification requirement, stating that R&D projects and programs must be registered before their commencement.
To facilitate a smooth transition, a flexible interpretation (before the Court of Cassation’s ruling) will be maintained during a designated transition period. However, starting from August 1 2023, project and program notifications must be submitted before their execution. It is important to distinguish between notifications before and after this date.
During this period, the notification date determines when the exemption can be applied. For example, a project or program that started in January 2023 and is notified in May 2023 can still benefit from the withholding tax exemption starting from May 2023.
Previously, project or program registration could be done:
From August 1 2023, only R&D projects and programs that have been timely notified can claim the exemption from withholding tax. This means that a project or program starting in August 2023 but only notified in September 2023 will not be eligible for the exemption.
According to the new procedure, all projects already in progress must be registered before August 1. For example, if a project started on May 1 and has not been registered yet, it is essential to register it as soon as possible before August 1 to benefit from the withholding tax exemption.
For projects starting from August 1, it is mandatory to register them before their commencement. Failure to register a project that has already started means the exemption cannot be applied.
Given these changes, it is crucial to inform FI Group in a timely manner about new R&D projects and programs starting from August 1 2023, or thereafter. Failure to notify on time will result in the inability to claim the withholding tax exemption.
When completing the project registration, the following information must be provided:
Certain information can be retrospectively changed or adjusted during the project’s course. This includes data regarding research personnel and the planned end date of the project.
At FI Group, we are committed to keeping our clients informed and ensuring a smooth transition in light of these new requirements. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need assistance with project registration or any other aspect of R&D financing and support.
With FI Group as your reliable partner, you can navigate the evolving landscape of R&D funding and fully leverage the available incentive measures.