WBSO stands for “Wet ter Bevordering van Speur- en Ontwikkelingswerk,” an elaborate Dutch phrase meaning “research and development.” This is a fiscal measure with the goal of stimulating R&D among Dutch businesses. As an organisation, you have to pay less wage tax for the hours your employees spend working on approved WBSO projects. In addition to the hours spent on WBSO projects, the other costs and expenses you face as an entrepreneur are also covered. This includes materials, consumables, trial batches, the costs of creating prototypes, the purchase of specific IT tools, the hiring or purchase of equipment and instruments needed for the work and R&D infrastructure.
Currently it is being investigated whether and how the definition of Research and Development within the framework of WBSO can be broadened when it comes to software development. The State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate is investigating the possibility of supporting the application of AI and ML in addition to development projects in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). It is also being investigated whether modelling and simulation by means of ICT tools could fit within the WBSO.
Target audiences of WBSO
The WBSO is available for Dutch entrepreneurs. Any organisation that develops technologically new products, processes or software or which conducts research into unknown technical operating principles is eligible for the WBSO. The size of the organisation is irrelevant.
The main criterion for the WBSO is that projects are technologically new for the applicant and that the work comes with technical challenges that must be resolved.
Conditions, characteristics and figures
The WBSO supports two types of projects:
- Development of technologically new products, processes or software
- Technical scientific research that leads to new insights
- This is a fiscal measure to stimulate research and development
- 40% (starters 50%) wage tax reduction for the initial €350,000 in wage costs, costs and expenses and 16% for the excess
- The WBSO must be applied for in advance. This can be done up to four times per year
- The request is evaluated by the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO).
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