Clarity on Withholding Tax Exemption for Bachelors after Correction of Legislative Error!

January 20, 2021

Partial Withholding Tax Exemption for R&D

Since 2018 the withholding tax exemption for scientific research was extended to include researchers with a bachelor degree (art. 275³, §1, paragraph 3, 3° ITC1992).

The bill that was put to parliament laid out a phased approach. In the first phase (2018 to 2019) employers could already exempt 40% of the withholding tax on the salaries paid to employees with bachelor degrees. In the second phase, starting from 2020, the exemption would be increased to 80%, which is the same rate as for employees with a master degree or a PhD. 

However, during the legislative process an error had slipped into the bill, which could lead to the interpretation that, as from 2020, there was no longer any legal ground for the exemption for employees with a bachelor degree. After stumbling upon this error Leyton had sought clarification from the Finance Minister. After all, the bill never intended to exclude employees with a bachelor degree from the exemption as from 2020.

On December 17, 2020, Parliament amended the law and corrected the error. As a result of this correction, employers once again have the necessary legal certainty on the eligibility of their employees with a bachelor degree for the withholding tax exemption scheme.