Employment Update, Belgium - September 2008

By Brent Springael



Employment of scientific personnel or researchers further rewarded


In order to stimulate R&D activities, the Belgian legislature had introduced a system by which employers could retain 50% of the payroll tax withheld on the wages of scientific personnel or researchers.

New legislation

In the Omnibus Act of 8 June 2008 (published in the Belgian State Gazette on 16 June 2008), the legislature increased the partial exemption from remitting the payroll tax for companies employing scientific personnel or researchers.

While the 65% exemption from remittance of the payroll tax already applied to universities and higher education institutions, it is now extended to (i) recognized scientific institutions, (ii) companies with a partnership agreement with universities and higher education institutions within the EEA or with recognized scientific institutions, (iii) Young Innovative Companies which are, generally speaking, SMEs younger than 10 years and dedicating at least 15% of their operating expenses to R&D, and (iv) companies that employ researchers with a doctorate, a master's diploma or diploma in civil engineering.

The partial exemption applies retro-actively as of 1 July 2008.

Effect on employers

Qualifying employers must only remit 35% of the payroll tax withheld to the Belgian Treasury. There is no investment requirement with respect to the payroll tax withheld but not remitted.