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Factsheet for measure FR-1984-1/2648 – measures in France

The research tax credit

Crédit impôt recherche - CIR

Country France , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 January 1984
Context Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial) or damage compensation
Author Frédéric Turlan (IRshare) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 29 November 2022)

Background information

The research tax credit (RTC) aims to improve innovation and competitiveness of companies. Thanks to this tax credit, companies can incur research and development expenses and be partially reimbursed for these expenses. Far from being limited to large companies, the RTC is available to all industrial, commercial and agricultural companies, whatever their legal form and size, provided that they are taxed according to their actual regime and that they carry out research and/or development expenditure.

Content of measure

The R&D activities which can benefit from the regime are defined as:

  • fundamental research,
  • applied research, and
  • development research.

The main categories of expenses which can give right to the tax credit are:

  • depreciation of assets dedicated to R&D projects (including patents acquired);
  • costs of employees with the appropriate technical skills (including social charges) dedicated to R&D projects;
  • operating expenses dedicated to R&D assessed at 75% of the former amount;
  • subcontracted research activities (even within the EU);
  • certain types of expenses related to compliance with regulatory standards.

This research tax credit covers 30% of all R&D costs up to €100 million, and 5% above this threshold. As of 2013, innovation expenses incurred by SMEs are also eligible for the research tax credit (up to €80,000 of tax credit a year).

France’s research tax credit is also a powerful incentive for research partnerships, as all expenditure contracted out to public sector bodies is double-counted, thereby effectively doubling the research tax credit. Salaries paid to junior final-year doctoral and post-doctoral research personnel on their first permanent contract are quadruple-counted when calculating the research tax credit for two years.

The research tax credit and 'innovative new company' (JEI) schemes have been fixed for five years to provide businesses with visibility and legal security.

Use of measure

In 2018, the latest year for which estimated data is available, 26,358 companies declared expenditure under the CIR, i.e. almost 2.7 times their number in 2007 (9,886 declarants, one year before the 2008 reform) and more than five times their number in 2003 (5,833). The scheme generated a tax receivable of €6.8 billion in 2018, i.e. 3.8 times more than before the reform (€1.8 billion in 2007).

According to the evaluation carried out by the National Commission for the Evaluation of Innovation Policies (CNEPI), in the report published in June 2021, the CIR:

  • has positive but moderate effects on R&D and innovation activities, and no significant impact on value added and on investment, except for intangible investment.
  • has positive effects on SMEs, but no significant effect has been established with regard to TSEs and large companies.
  • has a modest effect on the attractiveness of France as a location for of R&D by multinational companies.
  • leads to a reduction of 5 to 15 percentage points in the implicit corporate tax rate.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions




Eurofound (2022), The research tax credit, measure FR-1984-1/2648 (measures in France), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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