EUROPEAN R&D TAX INCENTIVES – CONTRIBUTION TO THE EMERGENCE OF A TAX CONCEPT

Under the scientific direction of Georges Cavalier,
Associate Professor, University Jean Moulin Lyon 3
EUROPEAN R&D TAX INCENTIVES – CONTRIBUTION TO THE EMERGENCE OF A TAX CONCEPT
This event benefits from financial grants from the
the European Law Institute and Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

11:00-18:00 / 9:30-12:00 – DECEMBER 6-7, 2019

Scientific Summary

The financial crisis of 2008 has highlighted the need to find new sources
of economic growth, and innovation is one such underutilised sources in
Europe. As tax incentives are known to stimulate investment in research and development, the ELI embarked on a research project that aimed at elaborating a harmonised R&D Tax Concept and an explanatory research book to aid decision makers at national and European level. The goal of this symposium is to present and discuss the findings of this ELI project.
The issue of research and development (R&D) tax incentive is of high topicality.

It is also at the centre of a policy issue opposing direct subsidies to tax incentives.
One reason for this might be the general aim of countries to attract companies to
foster job creation through highly qualified workers. At least of equal importance is the intellectual property (IP) as possible outcome of R&D activities: this IP becomes more and more important for the global allocation of tax revenues.
Although it sounds very technical, this particular area touches many fundamental issues of tax law, such as discrimination, the so-called principle of tax neutrality, or tax interpretation. R&D is indeed a good example of how difficult tax interpretation is, even if one could think being privileged in that matter due to the existence of the Frascati Manual, providing a good basis for a natural common approach. But
it could be viewed as a starting point. Indeed, the Frascati Manual suffers two main defects: it is not the fact that it was not designed for tax purposes. The first defect is that it is solely soft law. As such, it lacks democratic legitimation, and it is not of compulsory applied by each national legislator. This explains the second shortcoming: some recommendations of the Frascati Manual, as to the domain of
research (e.g. humanities), are purely excluded by certain legislations. This is one of the main result of this research (statements no 1 and 2) aiming at rubbing out the diverging applications despite a common starting point that is often considered as promoting a common approach. The second result of the research concerns eligible expenses which were known for a long time being very diverse in the national legislations: statements no 3 to 9 therefore propose a common approach. They
should therefore help reducing negative effects resulting from legal fragmentation.
The Statement should participate in the shaping of the new tax legal order, particularly within the European Union.

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