If you applied for the WBSO tax credit for research and development, you are required to keep an administration. A proper administration will provide simple and clear insights into the nature, content and progress of the WBSO activities carried out for each project, as well as the number of R&D hours spent on the project, per person and per day. Chapter 9 of the Manual WBSO 2024 explains how to keep an R&D administration.
The first time you submit an application in a specific calendar year, you can choose whether you are applying for WBSO towards actual costs and expenditures incurred for your R&D or for a fixed amount. Both options are explained in chapter 5.1 of the Manual WBSO 2024. If you opt for a fixed amount, you do not need to keep an administration of costs and expenditures. If you opt for actual costs and expenditures, you are required to keep an administration of the actual costs and expenditures.
How to keep an R&D administration
The following applies to both businesses and self-employed persons:
- An R&D administration must be kept from the start of a project. Even if you have not yet received an R&D declaration. If you find out later that a project or part thereof has been rejected, the hours spent working on them will not qualify for a tax benefit.
- Time sheet administration
You are required to keep an administration of the number of hours actually spent per day on R&D for each project and employee (number of hours worked). Make sure you record the hours spent on R&D within 10 working days. Ensure that the number of R&D hours recorded is in conformity with your employee leave and sick leave records.
- Project administration
You are required to keep an administration indicating the nature, content and progress of the R&D activities carried out for each project. You must update the R&D administrative records no later than 2 months after the end of each quarter.
The following applies to businesses:
If the total number of hours is less than the number of hours allocated, you will receive an adjusted R&D declaration after you have given notice.
In addition, the following applies to businesses which opted for 'actual costs and expenditures' in their application (instead of a fixed amount):
- Costs and expenditures administration
You are required to keep records accounting for the actual costs and expenditures throughout the year. If you have multiple R&D projects, you are required to keep costs and expenditures records for each project. The costs and expenditures records must be completed within 2 months of the end of the year.
- If your company ceases to exist (e.g. in the event of a liquidation or takeover), you are required to report the actual costs and expenditures to us within one month.
The following applies to self-employed persons:
If you have spent fewer than the required 500 hours on R&D, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency will revoke the R&D declaration(s) issued to you for that specific year. And therefore your entitlement to a tax credit benefit will lapse.
Reporting WBSO hours
If you are an R&D withholding agent, you have an annual obligation to report the hours actually spent on R&D and any costs and expenditures incurred in the previous year by 31 March at the latest.
If you are an R&D tax subject, you must always give notice if you have spent fewer than 500 hours on R&D.
Chapter 11 of the Manual WBSO 2024 explains how you can give this notice.
Shifting R&D hours
- You may shift R&D hours between various projects within an R&D declaration. For example, if you spend less time on a particular project, you can shift the remaining hours from that project to one or more other approved R&D projects that require more hours of work.
- You can also transfer unrealised R&D hours (and amounts for allocated costs and/or expenses) to allocated projects (and allocated costs and/or expenses) for which you applied at a later date.
In addition to keeping a good administration, you must meet several other obligations in order to qualify for WBSO. These are indicated in the checklist in chapter 13 of the Manual WBSO 2024.
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