Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

📄 Source:MENESR-DGRI.

 Coverage:Whole of France.

The R&D tax credit (CIR) is a tax incentive designed to stimulate R&D and, since 2013, innovation. It is deducted from the taxes payable by a firm for the financial year in which the expenditure was incurred.

The CIR was reformed in 2008 and since then has been calculated on the basis of eligible expenditure, which has increased its importance for companies. The CIR basis consists of three types of expenditure: research, collection and innovation (since 2013).

Research expenditure is defined by the Frascati Manual as intramural business enterprise expenditure on R&D (BERD), plus some additional types of expenditure (patents, technology intelligence or very small amounts). Rates in force in 2013: 30% of expenditure up to €100 million and 5% of expenditure above €100 million. The increased rates for new entrants were stopped in 2013. CIR for research expenditure only will be known as "research CIR", as the term CIR is used for the whole system and the total credit.

Collection expenditure is designed for companies in the textiles, clothing and leather sector and relates to the expenses of designing new collections. The resulting credit is known as 'collection tax credit' (CIC). CIC is subject to the 'de minimis' rule (see below).

Since 2013, the basis of CIR has been expanded to innovation expenses concerning operations to design prototypes or pilot installations of new products, for community SMEs, with a limit of €400,000 expenditure per company per year. The applicable rate is 20%. For convenience, the CIR for innovation expenses excluding R&D is often known as 'innovation tax credit' (CII).

de minimis: Within the European Union, public subsidies designed for a specific sector or type of company are subject to the 'de minimis' rule: one company can receive subsidies of up to €200,000 per period of 3 financial years.

Community SMEs are defined as companies:

- with fewer than 250 employees;

-with an annual turnover not exceeding €50m, or a total balance sheet not exceeding €43 million.

Further information about the methodology used can be found in the document entitled ‘Le crédit d’impôt recherche en 2013' (R&D tax credit in 2013), which is available on the Ministry of Higher Education and Research website.

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31 the R&D tax credit: an incentive for firms to increase their R&D expenditure

Since 2013, the R&D tax credit (CIR) has included three components according to the type of eligible expenditure: research expenditure, innovation expenditure and collection expenditure for the textile-clothing-leather sectors.
The amount of tax credit paid out in totalled €5.57 billion for research expenditure, €74 million for innovation expenditure and €65 million for collection expenditure, a total of €5.7 billion.

Many countries now use tax incentives to stimulate more spending on research and development (R&D). The development of such incentives over the past decade is explained in part by the fact that this type of financial support is well-suited to today’s culture of innovation, which is both demanding and fast-moving. Tax incentives give firms the freedom to choose their R&D projects, without targeting a particular sector or technology and are therefore well-suited to the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of innovation processes. The increased use of tax incentives also reflects the competition that exists between different countries when it comes to attracting R&D centres.

The expansion of the CIR in 2008 has encouraged a growing number of firms – and small firms in particular – to apply. More than 22,800 firms declared around €21 billion in eligible expenditure. The total credit paid out in 2013 was €5.7 billion (table 31.01).

Since 2013, the CIR basis consists of three types of expenditure (see methodology). Research expenditure represents 96.5% of expenses and 97.6% of credit paid out. Innovation expenses, for which SMEs that were deemed autonomous for tax purposes are eligible, generates a credit of €74 million (1.3%) and collection expenses generate a credit of €65 million (1.1% of the total).

15,245 firms received research tax credit. Of these, around 90% had fewer than 250 employees, receiving 31% of the credit paid out. SME that were deemed autonomous for tax purposes represented 60% of CIR beneficiaries (table 31.02a). They represented 16.2% of declared expenditure and received 17.5% of the credit. All the firms, excluding the largest ones, received a share of the credit that was greater than their proportion of expenditure. All the size categories had a CIR rate of 30%, apart from beneficiaries with over 5,000 employees, for whom the ratio of credit to expenditure was 24%, as a result of the reduced rate of relief for firms with over €100 million expenditure. The average credit paid, however, increased with the size of the firm, as R&D budgets grew according to the number of staff. The average credit paid out to all firms was €365,000, whereas for firms with fewer than 10 employees it was €51,000.

3,445 SMEs that were deemed autonomous for tax purposes received innovation tax credit (CII) (table 31.02b). Nearly 85% of the beneficiaries have fewer than 50 employees. On average, the declared innovation expenses were €108,000 and the credit was €22,000. The beneficiaries did not therefore reach the €400,000 ceiling of expenses eligible for CII (see methodology). Even the largest SMEs (100-249 employees) did not reach this ceiling, with average expenses of €163,000.

table 31.03a shows the sectoral distribution of CIR. Manufacturing industries receive 61% of research CIR and the service industry receives 37%. The 'Electrics and electronics' sector declared the most expenditure (15%) and received the most CIR (16%) The ‘manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations’ was the second largest sector in terms of declared expenditure (14%) and the third largest in terms of CIR received (12%). This sector receives a lower proportion of credit as a result of the concentration of R&D expenditure in large laboratories, to which a reduced rate of relief is applied. The ‘manufacture of motor vehicles’ industry has a similar configuration, with large companies and R&D centres representing high amounts of expenditure. Its share of the credit received was 6%, compared to 8% of declared expenditure. The ‘Computer-related consultancy and support’ sector was third in terms of expenditure (11.7%) but second in terms of credit received (2.6%). ‘Architectural and engineering services’ services were in fourth position for both expenditure and credit, ahead of ‘manufacture of motor vehicles’ and ‘manufacture of ships, aircraft and rolling stock’, in particular.

table 31.03b shows the sectoral distribution of CII. Manufacturing industries received 30% of CII and the service industry received 68%. Unlike research CIR, CII is mostly received by service companies. CII is also much more concentrated on a few sectors than research CIR. The ‘Computer-related consultancy and support’ sector in fact receives over 36% of the credit paid out.

📄 Source:MENESR-DGRI.
 Coverage:Whole of France.

How to cite this paper :

QUEMENER Justin. The R&D tax credit: an incentive for firms to increase their R&D expenditure. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 49 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2017. 10th ed. Chapter 31 [Accessed 10/20/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-152033-2. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/10EN/EESR10EN_R_31-the_r_d_tax_credit_an_incentive_for_firms_to_increase_their_r_d_expenditure.php

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The R&D tax credit (CIR) is a tax incentive designed to stimulate R&D and, since 2013, innovation. It is deducted from the taxes payable by a firm for the financial year in which the expenditure was incurred.

The CIR was reformed in 2008 and since then has been calculated on the basis of eligible expenditure, which has increased its importance for companies. The CIR basis consists of three types of expenditure: research, collection and innovation (since 2013).

Research expenditure is defined by the Frascati Manual as intramural business enterprise expenditure on R&D (BERD), plus some additional types of expenditure (patents, technology intelligence or very small amounts). Rates in force in 2013: 30% of expenditure up to €100 million and 5% of expenditure above €100 million. The increased rates for new entrants were stopped in 2013. CIR for research expenditure only will be known as "research CIR", as the term CIR is used for the whole system and the total credit.

Collection expenditure is designed for companies in the textiles, clothing and leather sector and relates to the expenses of designing new collections. The resulting credit is known as 'collection tax credit' (CIC). CIC is subject to the 'de minimis' rule (see below).

Since 2013, the basis of CIR has been expanded to innovation expenses concerning operations to design prototypes or pilot installations of new products, for community SMEs, with a limit of €400,000 expenditure per company per year. The applicable rate is 20%. For convenience, the CIR for innovation expenses excluding R&D is often known as 'innovation tax credit' (CII).

de minimis: Within the European Union, public subsidies designed for a specific sector or type of company are subject to the 'de minimis' rule: one company can receive subsidies of up to €200,000 per period of 3 financial years.

Community SMEs are defined as companies:

- with fewer than 250 employees;

-with an annual turnover not exceeding €50m, or a total balance sheet not exceeding €43 million.

Further information about the methodology used can be found in the document entitled ‘Le crédit d’impôt recherche en 2013' (R&D tax credit in 2013), which is available on the Ministry of Higher Education and Research website.

 

Key figures


Amount of R&D tax credit
5,567 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises with 1 to 9 employees
307 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of of R&D tax credit for business enterprises with 1 to 9 employees
5.5%
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises with 10 to 249 employees
1,422 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit for business enterprises with 5,000 employees and over
34.5%
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises with 5,000 employees and over
1,922 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit for business enterprises with 250 to 4,999 employees
34.4%
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises with 250 to 4,999 employees
1,912 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit for business enterprises with 10 to 249 employees
25.5%
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in Computer consultancy and assistance
12.6%
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in the Research and development sector
1.5%
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in Banking and insurance services
1.5%
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in the Electrical and electronics industry
893 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in Architectural and engineering services
10.6%
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in Pharmaceuticals
668 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in Textiles, wearing apparel, leather
0.5%
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in the Mechanical engineering industry
3.7%
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in Chemicals, rubber, plastics
5.5%
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in Naval, aeronautical and railway construction
6.4%
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in the Automobile industry
6.0%
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in Pharmaceuticals
12.0%
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in the Research and development sector
84 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in Banking and insurance services
82 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in Telecommunications services
67 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in Architectural and engineering services
592 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in Computer consultancy and assistance
704 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in Textiles, wearing apparel, leather
28 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in the Mechanical engineering industry
208 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in Chemicals, rubber, plastics
306 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in Naval, aeronautical and railway construction
356 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Amount of R&D tax credit for business enterprises in the Automobile industry
332 M
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in Telecommunications services
1.2%
 
Whole of France
 
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Share of R&D tax credit received by business enterprises in the Electrical and electronics industry
16.0%
 
Whole of France
 
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31.01 Companies declaring and receiving CIR in 2013, according to the type of expenditure declared

 
Number of beneficiaries Expenditure (€M) Share of expenditure (%) Credit paid out (€M) Share of credit paid out (%)
Research 15,245 20,119 96.5 5,567 97.6
Innovation 3,445 372 1.8 74 1.3
Collection 1,062 365 1.8 65 1.1
All, excluding dual accounts 17,445 20,855 100 5,707 100
 

3,445 companies received CIR for innovation expenditure (some of which also carry out research) for a total of €372m in innovation expenses. The resulting credit paid out was €74m.

📄 Source:MENESR-DGRI
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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31.02a Breakdown of R&D CIR beneficiaries in 2013

 
Number of beneficiaries Research expenditure Credit paid out Average credit paid out (€K) Credit / expenditure (%)
Number of employees Breakdown (%) Amount (€M) Répartition (en %) Amount (€M) Breakdown (%)
1 to 249 employees 13,696 89.8 5,783 28.7 1,729 31.1 126.3 30
of which community SMEs 9,160 60.1 3,255 16.2 976 17.5 106.6 30
1 to 9 employees 6,013 39.4 1,025 5.1 307 5.5 51.1 30
10 to 249 employees 7,683 50.4 4,758 23.7 1,422 25.5 185.1 30
250 to 4,999 employees 1,304 8.6 6,376 31.7 1,912 34.4 1,466.6 30
5,000 employees and more 97 0.6 7,951 39.5 1,922 34.5 19,814.9 24
Not completed 148 1.0 8 0.0 3 0.1 22.7 30
Total 15,245 100.0 20,119 100.0 5,567 100.0 365.2 28
 

89.8% of research CIR beneficiaries had between 1 and 240 employees. 60.1% of research CIR beneficiaries were 'community' SMEs.

📄 Source:MENESR-DGRI
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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31.02b Breakdown of CIR-innovation tax credit beneficiaries in 2013

 
Number of beneficiaries innovation expenditure Credit paid out Average credit paid out (€K) Credit / expenditure (%)
Number of employees Breakdown (%) Amount (€M) Répartition (en %) Amount (€M) Breakdown (%)
1 to 9 employees 1,453 42.2 102.8 27.7 20.6 27.7 14.2 20
10 to 49 employees 1,464 42.5 188.6 50.8 37.8 50.8 25.8 20
50 to 99 employees 306 8.9 49.2 13.2 9.8 13.2 32.2 20
100 to 249 employees 179 5.2 29.2 7.8 5.9 7.9 32.7 20
Not completed 43 1.1 1.7 0.3 0.3 0.3 7.9 20
Total 3,445 100.0 371.5 100.0 74.4 100.0 21.6 20

 
📄 Source:MENESR-DGRI
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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31.03a Breakdown of expenditure and R&D tax credit by sector 1 in 2013

 
Proportion of research expenditure (%) Proportion of research credit (%) Amount of credit (€M)
Manufacturing 63.3 60.9 3,389
Electrics and electronics sector 15.1 16.0 893
Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations, perfumes and cleaning and polishing preparations 13.6 12.0 668
Manufacture of motor vehicles 8.0 6.0 332
Manufacture of ships, aircraft and rolling stock 7.2 6.4 356
Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products, rubber and plastic products 5.1 5.5 306
Mechanical engineering 3.5 3.7 208
Hydrocarbons, energy production 3.0 2.8 158
Manufacture of textiles, clothing and leather goods 0.5 0.5 28
Other manufacturing 7.3 7.9 440
Service activities 34.6 36.9 2,053
Computer-related consultancy and support 11.7 12.6 704
Architectural and engineering services 10.1 10.6 592
Trade 2 4.2 4.6 254
Telecommunications activities 1.4 1.2 67
Research and development 1.4 1.5 84
Financial and insurance activities 1.4 1.5 82
Other service activities 4.5 4.9 271
Other sectors 3 2.0 2.2 124
Total 100.0 100.0 5,567
 

1 After reallocation of the Holding Company and R&D Services sectors.
2 Including the multinational subsidiaries of industrial sectors whose main activity is trade.
3 'Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing', 'Building and Civil Engineering' and unspecified activities.

📄 Source:MENESR-DGRI
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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31.03b Breakdown of innovation expenditure and credit paid out by sector in 2013 1

 
Proportion of innovation expenditure (%) Proportion of innovation credit (%) Amount of credit (€M)
Manufacturing 30.3 30.3 22.0
Electrics and electronics sector 8.8 8.8 6.5
Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations, perfumes and cleaning and polishing preparations 6.9 6.9 5.1
Manufacture of motor vehicles 2.7 2.7 2.0
Manufacture of ships, aircraft and rolling stock 1.3 1.3 1.0
Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products, rubber and plastic products 1.0 1.0 0.7
Mechanical engineering 0.6 0.6 0.5
Hydrocarbons, energy production 0.6 0.6 0.5
Manufacture of textiles, clothing and leather goods 8.3 8.3 5.7
Other manufacturing 67.9 67.9 50.5
Service activities 36.4 36.4 27.0
Computer-related consultancy and support 11.3 11.3 8.4
Architectural and engineering services 7.4 7.4 5.5
Trade 2 5.8 5.8 4.3
Telecommunications activities 1.0 1.0 0.7
Research and development 0.4 0.4 0.3
Financial and insurance activities 0.3 0.3 0.3
Other service activities 5.3 5.3 8.7
Other sectors 3 1.8 1.8 1.4
Total 100.0 100.0 74.4
 

1 After reallocation of the Holding Company and R&D Services sectors.
2 Including the multinational subsidiaries of industrial sectors whose main activity is trade.
3 'Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing', 'Building and Civil Engineering' and unspecified activities.

📄 Source:MENESR-DGRI
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 9th edition - November 2016
32 - the R&D tax credit: an incentive for firms to increase their R&D expenditure - Justin Quemener
Since 2013, the R&D tax credit (CIR) has included three components according to the type of eligible expenditure: research expenditure, innovation expenditure and collection expenditure for the textile-clothing-leather sectors. [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 8th edition - November 2015
31 - the R&D tax credit: an incentive for firms to increase their R&D expenditure - Justin Quemener & Frédérique Sachwald
The number of firms claiming the R&D tax credit (CIR) has risen sharply since the scheme was reformed in 2008. Nearly all firms currently conducting R&D in France are aware of and make use of the R&D tax credit when carrying out R&D projects. The amount of R&D tax credit paid out in 2012 totalled €5.3 billion, equivalent to 0.26% of French GDP and double the amount of direct government funding for business R&D [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°10 - Avril 2017
31 - le crédit d'impôt recherche, dispositif de soutien à la R&D des entreprises - Justin Quemener
Depuis 2013, le Crédit d’impôt recherche comporte trois composantes en fonction du type de dépenses éligibles : dépenses de recherche, dépenses d’innovation et dépenses de collection pour les secteurs textile-habillement-cuir. La créance 2013 est de 5,57 Md€ au titre des dépenses de recherche, 74 M€ au titre des dépenses d’innovation et 65 M€ au titre des dépenses de collection, soit un total de 5,7 Md€ [Consult the following page in french]


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