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R&D Tax News N°27 – April 2015

R&D Tax News

2015 RTC Handbook: brief overview of the changes compared to the previous edition

This handbook is published annually by the French Ministry of Research (MENESR) to provide companies with practical guidance on the French research tax credit (RTC). It has no regulatory value and does not give any enforceable legal right. The following table introduces the main changes and novelties brought in the 2015 edition compared to last year.

Technical justification The MENESR modifies its recommendations regarding the presentation of technical documentation. A new template was provided where scientific, technical and technological obstacles are placed before the state of the art.
Eligible scope A glossary in appendix was added to propose a definition of certain key concepts (such as the state of the art, scientific obstacles, accessible knowledge). It confirms that the state of the art can be based on various sources (diversified publi-cations, scientific conferences, white papers…). The abstraction level of R&D projects is highlighted as an eligibility criterion.
A prototype is characterized as a temporary and incomplete version of a final product.
Outsourcing According to the handbook, an outsourced work that is essential to the achievement of an R&D project without being independently considered as an eligible R&D task is not eligible to the research tax credit.
Ordering parties, whose subcontractors have requested the withdrawal of their certification, may still retain in the RTC basis the invoices related to R&D contracts signed prior the removal date, even if they are issued afterwards (not veri-fied).
Interns and young PhD The MENESR considers interns as potential eligible staff to the RTC under certain conditions.
To apply the young PhD regime, only the first permanent contract in the PhD’s field of study should be considered (e.g. a previous permanent contract in a fast food chain should not be retained). No detail was given concerning the “research staff members” scope.
Others An experiment is currently performed to register RTC consulting firms that commit themselves to good practices. The MENESR reminds however that listed firms should not influence the tax and research authorities.
An Excel template was also provided for the presentation and computation of eligible expenses.

Draft Administrative guidelines – Compulsory social contributions – Were open to consultation until April 12th – Already applicable

The Tax administration brought precisions to the definition of compulsory social charges that are eligible to the Research Tax Credit, and underlines the notion of social benefit characterizing these charges, with respect to Health Insurance, Unemployment, and Retirement. These guidelines also confirm the eligibility of some social charges that had already been accepted by a recent caselaw, and adopts a less restrictive approach, for instance regarding health insurance which is now more generally accepted (for a precise list of the social contributions to be included/excluded from the Research Tax Credit basis, according to these new guidelines, please refer to the French version of this R&D Tax News).

Versailles Administrative Court of Appeal, n°13VE01024, March 3rd, 2015, Société Tyrol Acquisitions – Statute of limitation period to file an amended R&D tax credit return

Versailles Administrative Court of Appeal confirms that a company is statute barred to file an amended R&D tax credit return on December 31 of the second year following the year during which the original R&D tax credit return was filed (Book of Tax Procedures, art. R 196-1, c). A tax reassessment notice notifying to a company reassessments relating only to corporate income tax assessment basis, but not to the R&D tax credit filed with respect to the same years, does not entitle the company to benefit from the special additional time period provided in case of tax reassessment to file an amended R&D tax credit return. Such benefit would have been granted should the reassessment had been related to the R&D tax credit concerned.

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