Tax Credit for R&D Expenses

Spanish R&D incentives are obtainable as tax deferrals and accelerated depreciation on R&D assets, tax credits for R&D associated expenses and patent-related of partial exemption and tax allowances. Reform of Spanish tax law is anticipated in 2015 and 2016, but is believed that the R&D tax regime will remain in its existing form.


 Description of Incentives

Spanish tax law includes many variations of R&D credits:

  • Volume credit – equivalent to 25% of the R&D expenses experienced in the tax year
  • Incremental credit – corresponding to 42% of the amount of the current year expenditures exceeding the average of such expenditures incurred in the preceding two tax years.
  • Personnel credit – 17% credit for wages to qualified researchers whose employment is purely to R&D
  • R&D equipment credit – 8% credit for amounts invested in tangible and intangible fixed assets (exclusive of real estate)
  • 12% credit for expenses acquired for activities that resulted in technological innovation for existing products
  • 60% if net income from the grant and sale of intangible assets is immune from taxable income, effectively leading to a 12% rate for companies subject to standard corporate tax rates
  • Patent box – 50% of income from assignment of patents is excused from taxable income

Eligibility Requirements

All industries are eligible to claim the R&D tax credit for costs incurred on qualified activities.

R&D activities include:

  • Unique, scheduled investigation which is aimed at attaining new knowledge
  • Research in scientific or technological industries
  • Substantial technological enhancement of materials, products, processes or previously existing methods (including software development).

Other Considerations

All qualified R&D must be undertaken in Spain, a fellow member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area. Capability to claim the credit is not reliant on the taxpayer having IP ownership.


Swanson Reed offers the following services:

  • Advice on tax preparation relevant to claiming the R&D tax credits incentive
  • Preparation of documents relating to filing and substantiating a R&D taxation claim
  • R&D tax advice and consultations
  • R&D tax claim planning and preparation

For a full range of services in relation to the credit, please click here.

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