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Investment and Innovation Incentives Alerts
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Gi3 Alert | Reminder of restrictions on combined application of R&D tax credit and wage withholding tax exemption for researchers
21 November 2022
Although Belgian legislation does not prohibit the application of a combination of research and development (R&D) incentives in respect of the same activities or assets, certain restrictions apply for taxable periods ending on or after 1 April 2022. New legislation on the reduction of labour costs as part of the “mini tax shift” was published in Belgium’s official journal on 31 March 2022 and includes provisions intended to prevent companies “double-dipping” by claiming both the R&D tax credit and the partial wage withholding tax exemption for researchers in respect of the same costs.
Gi3 Alert | Deloitte Legal Newsflash | Belgian landmark case on wage withholding tax exemption for R&D – continued
18 November 2022
On 28 October 2022, the Belgian tax administration filed an appeal with the Supreme Court against a milestone judgment obtained from the Ghent court of appeal by Deloitte Legal for a client on 24 May 2022 (see Newsflash of 28 June 2022), regarding the wage withholding tax exemption for R&D (art. 275³ ITC). The judgment confirmed some valuable principles that are of importance to taxpayers making use of the exemption.
Gi3 Alert | European Innovation Fund invites greenhouse gas emission reduction projects
15 November 2022
The European Innovation Fund launched its third call for funding proposals for large-scale projects on 3 November 2022. The available budget of EUR 3 billion is aimed at fostering the deployment of industrial solutions to decarbonise Europe, aligned with the objectives with the RepowerEU initiative. The deadline for submitting applications is 16 March 2023, providing interested parties with a generous timeframe to put together their proposal(s).
Gi3 Alert | Ambitious energy policy agreements and enhanced legislation introduced to promote efficiencies in Flemish industry
20 October 2022
The Flemish government is looking to take major steps forward in the climate and energy transition arena by enacting a new energy decree (“Energiebesluit”) that will encourage companies to realise their energy saving potential, not only by reducing their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but also improving competitiveness by reducing energy costs. The government has long been focused on supporting large companies to improve the energy efficiency of their processes and reduce energy use as much as possible, but is now encouraging even more companies to concentrate on this spend, by introducing new energy management processes and increasing the scope of legislation to include additional companies.
Gi3 Alert | Are you aware of the latest developments in the Belgian cash grant landscape?
09 August 2022
The dynamic funding landscape in Belgium has evolved over the past few months: granting new opportunities to request cash grants, but also among other relevant developments. Find out more in this alert.
Gi3 Alert | First call for projects under Belgium Builds Back Circular initiative launched
28 July 2022
On 15 June 2022, the Belgian Federal Public Service for Health, Food chain safety and Environment launched the first call for projects under the “Belgium Builds Back Circular” initiative (Dutch I French). The call is focussed on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in innovative projects and research activities that support the transition towards a circular economy in four specific sectors: e-bikes, wind energy, healthcare, and biomimetics. The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2022.
Gi3 Alert | Results of European Innovation Fund second call for large-scale projects announced
26 July 2022
On 11 July 2022, the European Innovation Fund communicated to applicants the results of the second call for large-scale projects that was launched on 26 October 2021. With a budget of EUR 1.5 billion, which constituted a 50% increase compared to the previous call, it aimed to finance breakthrough technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use, and storage. The commission received 139 applications across all eligible categories and 17 projects were selected for agreement preparation, covering a wide range of relevant sectors to decarbonise different parts of Europe's industry and energy. Deloitte clients were awarded over EUR 200 million.
Gi3 Alert | Limited extension to filing deadline for 2021 wage withholding tax returns announced
8 July 2022
The Belgian Ministry of Finance has announced that the submission deadline for the wage withholding tax returns for fiscal year 2021 is extended from 31 August 2022 to Friday, 2 September 2022 before 4 pm (CEST). The wage withholding tax returns must be submitted via the Finprof online platform. This means that any corrections to the R&D wage withholding tax incentive (the partial exemption from remitting the tax for employers of qualifying researchers) claimed for 2021 can still be processed until 2 September 2022.
Gi3 Alert | Belgian landmark case on wage withholding tax exemption for R&D
28 June 2022
On 24 May 2022, Deloitte Legal obtained a milestone judgment from the Ghent court of appeal for one of its clients regarding the wage withholding tax exemption for R&D (art. 275³ ITC). In the judgment, the court confirmed some valuable principles that are of importance to taxpayers making use of the exemption.
Gi3 Alert | Brussels-Capital region 2022 joint R&D project launched: Sustainable and Resilient Buildings and Transports
22 June 2022
Innoviris (the public organisation that funds and supports research and innovation in the Brussels-Capital Region) runs an annual joint research and development (R&D) project call to foster collaboration between academia and industry. Through these yearly calls, it enables companies to adopt the latest innovations and helps researchers to find practical cases to apply their discoveries. The theme of the 2022 call launched on 15 June 2022 is ”Sustainable and resilient buildings and transports.” and projects financed under the call will also contribute to Brussels’ efforts to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. Expressions of interest must be submitted by 21 October 2022.
Gi3 Alert | LIFE 2022 call for project proposals: Overview and deadlines reminder
16 June 2022
On 17 May 2022, the European Commission launched the LIFE 2022 call for project proposals. LIFE is a European Union funding programme that supports innovative close-to-market projects in line with nature, environmental, and climate related policies in Europe, and supports their implementation. The programme is open both to large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as public authorities and nongovernmental organisations, and all qualifying entities should consider whether any of their sustainability initiatives may be eligible for funding under this European mechanism.
Gi3 Alert | VLAIO announces third call for funding for artificial intelligence and cybersecurity projects
14 June 2022
VLAIO (Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) on 7 June 2022 invited enterprises to preregister project proposals to receive funding under its ICON initiative designed to support projects in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI-ICON) and cybersecurity (CS-ICON), bridging the gap between research results on AI and CS and their applications in the Flemish business world.
Gi3 Alert | New audit wave on wage withholding tax exemption regimes
30 May 2022
In the past few weeks, several companies received a letter from the Federal Public Service of Finance announcing a new audit wave regarding the correct application of the laws and regulations concerning the various wage withholding tax exemption regimes. The letter states that in 64% of last year’s audits, a rectification was performed. The letter encourages companies to self-evaluate their compliance with the applicable laws and regulations, to mitigate financial risks.
Gi3 Alert | Proposals invited from SMEs for VLAIO subsidy for water-saving investments
05 May 2022
The Flanders region has historically suffered from water shortages. To encourage the development of potential solutions to this issue, Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) on 2 May 2022 launched a second call in connection with the “Blue Deal water-saving investments” for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Suitable projects would address, for example, reduced water consumption, buffering of rainwater, countermeasures against drought, and reuse of water through purification. The deadline for the submission of proposals is 8 July 2022.
Gi3 Alert | Federal project call: Clean hydrogen for clean industry
03 May 2022
On 21 April 2022, the Belgian government launched a funding call for projects designed to promote “clean hydrogen for clean industry” as part of the federal hydrogen strategy. The deadline for submissions is 1 June 2022.
Gi3 Alert | New call for green heat investments in Flanders launched
26 April 2022
Each year, the Flemish Energy and Climate Agency (VEKA) launches a few calls for projects in the field of green heat. This year’s first call opens on 2 May and closes on 16 May 2022 and has a budget of more than EUR 32 million.
Gi3 Alert | Filing deadline to claim R&D tax credit and R&D/energy investment deductions is 31 March 2022
17 March 2022
The deadline for filing certificates supporting claims for the research and development (R&D) tax credit and R&D investment deduction (in Brussels and Wallonia), and the energy investment deduction (in Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia) for qualifying expenses capitalised in 2021 is 31 March 2022.
Gi3 Alert | Walloon launches new call for proposals “Waste-resources 2021-2022”
04 February 2022
In the context of both the Walloon region and Belgian national recovery and
resilience plans, Wallonia on 17 January 2022 launched a new call for proposals
for projects dedicated specifically to the prevention of waste and the operational management of waste as a resource. It completes the four calls for projects announced in 2021 intended to achieve a more “circular economy.” The budget allocated to the call is EUR 37.5 million.
Gi3 Alert | New open calls to stimulate circular economy in Flanders launched
25 January 2022
On 19 January 2022, Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) launched (available in Dutch only) two calls for funding in the field of the circular economy. The calls were launched in line with the Flemish energy and climate plan and the ambition to reduce the Flemish material footprint and carbon emissions drastically by 2030.
Gi3 Alert | Changes to VLAIO strategic transformation support as from 1 January 2022
22 December 2021
As from 1 January 2022, the strategic transformation support provided by the VLAIO (Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) to certain companies in the Flemish region will be amended. The support is available to help fund investment and training by qualifying companies implementing a transformation with a strong innovative character to strengthen their international competitiveness. The emphasis of the revised support includes simplifying the assessment of eligibility and making it more transparent and limiting aid to EUR 500,000 per company per calendar year.
Gi3 Alert | Applying the R&D wage tax exemption and innovation income deduction: Remember to update your Belspo notification annually
21 December 2021
The Belspo notification process, which is mandatory in applying the partial withholding tax exemption for researchers, continuous to trigger several discussions during tax audits. All employers applying this incentive are therefore encouraged to review their Belspo notifications to ensure compliance with the regulations.
Gi3 Alert | European Innovation Fund invites greenhouse gas emission reduction projects
28 July 2021
The European Innovation Fund plans to launch its second call for funding
proposals for large-scale projects on 26 October 2021, targeting greenhouse
gas emission reduction projects with total capital costs exceeding EUR 7.5
million. The deadline for submitting applications is expected to be 1 March
2022, leaving interested parties ample time to put together their proposal(s).
Gi3 Alert | Patent income deduction definitively replaced by innovation income deduction
16 July 2021
The transitional period for claiming Belgium’s patent income deduction (PID) with respect to certain qualifying intellectual property (IP) rights expired on 30 June 2021 and, as from 1 July 2021, only the innovation income deduction (IID)
applies. The PID broadly allowed companies to deduct 80% of their gross patent
income from taxable profits. The PID was abolished as from 1 July 2016 with a
five-year transitional regime. To replace the PID and align Belgian legislation with the OECD recommendations under BEPS action 5 (countering harmful tax
practices) the IID was introduced.
Gi3 Alert | LIFE 2021 calls for project proposals published
16 July 2021
The Multi-Annual Work Programme for LIFE 2021-2024 and the calls for project
proposals for 2021 were published on 13 July 2021. LIFE is an EU funding
programme that supports innovative close-to-market projects in line with
nature, environmental, and climate related policies in Europe, and supports their implementation. The programme is open to both large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as governments and non-governmental organisations.
Gi3 Alert | flanders.healthTech launches call for proposals for innovative collaborations
14 July 2021
As the seventh official spearhead cluster recognized by the Flanders innovation
and entrepreneurship agency, flanders.healthTech aims to stimulate
innovation by crossing the borders of biotech, medtech, and nanotech
(electronics, photonics, and information and communications technology). On
28 June 2021, the 2021 call for proposals was launched with a budget of EUR
6.5 million to boost Flemish health tech projects.
Gi3 Alert | European Commission adopts main work programme of Horizon Europe for 2021-2022
24 June 2021
Horizon Europe, as the successor of Horizon 2020, became the EU's most ambitious research and innovation programme for 2021-2027 with a total budget of EUR 95.5 billion. The main work programme for the period 2021-2022 has been launched with available funding of EUR 14.7 billion to allocate. A significant part of the programme aims to support actions that will help the green and digital transition, promote a sustainable recovery from the global crisis that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, and strengthen international cooperation through multilateral initiatives in Europe.
Gi3 Alert | VLAIO subsidy for R&D Feasibility Studies
08 June 2021
As of May 2021, companies can receive financial support from VLAIO (Flemish
Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) to partially fund their R&D
Feasibility Studies. A feasibility study is the first important step in innovative
project since it provides clear and substantiated insights in the possibilities and
feasibility of an innovation. It must be clearly demonstrated that the feasibility
study leads to further innovative activities, and that it contributes to creation
of knowledge that allows for a better assessment of risks and opportunities
when considering investing in an ambitious future innovation plan.
Gi3 Alert | Limitative technology list for the ecology premium plus extended
07 June 2021
The ecology premium plus is a financial subsidy for companies realising ecology
investments in the Flemish region. The aim of this incentive is to encourage
companies to organise their production processes and logistics operations in a
more environmental-friendly and energy-efficient manner. A funding
application can be submitted every day of the year and the funding
percentages range between 15% and 55% on the extra cost. Recently, the list
of technologies funded under this program has been updated.
Gi3 Alert | R&D wage tax audit wave: Points of attention
20 April 2021
In applying the partial exemption of professional wage withholding tax for
researchers, companies are allowed to retain part of the wage withholding tax
deducted from qualifying researchers’ salaries.
Similarly to previous calendar years 2017 and 2018, an increased focus by the
Belgian Tax Administration (BTA) can be observed regarding the exemption’s
application for calendar year 2019.
Gi3 Alert | ICON (VLAIO): second call for artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity (CS) projects
10 March 2021
Just as the steam engine or electricity, artificial intelligence is another
transversal and generic technology that will drastically change our world. The
personalisation of healthcare, renewed production processes, translation
applications or traffic optimisation are among the many concrete applications
offered by AI technology. With the thematic ICON projects on artificial
intelligence (AI-ICON) and cybersecurity (CS-ICON), VLAIO wants to bridge the
gap between research results in these two technological areas, along their
applications in the Flemish business world. Priority is given to projects with
high added value for Flanders. Submissions are possible until 20 August 2021,
after mandatory pre-notification by 14 April 2021.
Gi3 Alert | Flemish Energy and Climate Agency call: green heat, residual heat and heating grid projects
15 February 2021
The Flemish Energy and Climate Agency (VEKA) has launched a new call for
companies investing in projects related to green heat, residual heat or heating
grids. Applications can be submitted from Monday 15 February until Friday 12
Gi3 Alert | LIFE program renewed for 2021-2027
10 February 2021
LIFE is a European Union funding program that aims to support innovative
projects in line with nature, environment and climate policies in Europe, and
help put these into practice. This program is open to both large companies and
SMEs, as well as governments and NGOs. This year, a new LIFE program was
launched with new priorities for the 7 years ahead: LIFE 2021-2027.
Gi3 Alert | How does the Brexit deal affect EU funding participation for UK entities?
08 February 2021
After effectively entering the post-Brexit landscape on 1 January 2021,
following the 24 December 2021 Brexit deal (The EU-UK Trade and
Cooperation Agreement), UK entities will specifically need to examine whether
they can still benefit from EU funding.
Gi3 Alert | New BEL-COO interregional funding scheme launched
04 February 2021
The new BEL-COO program was launched on 1 February 2021 to replace and
expand the BEL-SME program.
The program is an initiative by the Flemish Agency of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (VLAIO, Flanders), SPW Recherche (Wallonia) and Innoviris
(Brussel), and targets Belgian companies seeking to partake in a joint research
or development project with companies from other Belgian regions.
Gi3 Alert | Tax authorities issue FAQs on Innovation Income Deduction
23 August 2018
On 26 July 2018, the Belgian tax authorities published frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the application of the innovation income deduction (IID) regime, which replaced the previous patent income deduction (see our Tax Alert dated 21 February 2017). Under the IID regime, qualifying taxpayers may deduct 85% of qualifying net innovation income from the company’s taxable base. The FAQs (Dutch | French) are published on Fisconetplus. Registration on Fisconetplus is required to access the FAQs.
Gi3 Alert | Researcher withholding tax exemption extended to certain bachelor’s degrees from 1 January 2018
16 November 2017
Article 275/3 of the Belgian Income Tax Code (“ITC”) provides a partial withholding tax exemption for some employees active in R&D. The exemption currently amounts to 80% of the withholding tax deducted. In order to benefit from this exemption, several conditions need to be met, including a scientific master’s degree requirement in most cases certain bachelor’s degrees will become eligible.
Gi3 Alert | The IID is finally here! Is your business ready?
21 February 2017
Previous R&D tax alerts (12 July, 29 August, 20 October and 5 December 2016) announced that a new innovation income deduction would be introduced. The regime is now a reality after IID legislation has been published in the Official Journal on 20 February 2017. The adopted version of the law can be accessed by clicking (Dutch | French).