The research tax credit, a boon for large companies


The effects of using the research tax credit “are not statistically significant” for large companies and mid-size companies, the think-tank France Strategy has just concluded.

For large companies, the effects of the CIR are barely noticeable

Created in 1983, the research tax credit (CIR) has mainly benefited microenterprises and SMEs. And this, both for their R&D activities and for their economic performance. At least in terms of turnover and intangible investment, has just concluded France Strategy, a think-tank attached to the services of the Prime Minister. The CIR has led these companies to increase their level of R&D expenditure by an amount roughly equivalent to the tax benefit received.

On the other hand, for large companies and mid-size companies, the effects of the CIR are barely noticeable. This, even though the 50 companies accumulating the largest CIR claims alone represent 50% of the total claim.

The research tax credit does not encourage multinationals to domicile their R&D activities in France

Another disappointing finding: even though one might have thought that this “fiscal carrot” would encourage multinationals to prefer France for the establishment of their research activities, this is not at all the case. Interviews conducted by France Stratégie with heads of multinationals attest that public aid is not the determining factor for the location of their R&D activities. The considerations which prevail in general relate to the presence of dynamic innovation ecosystems allowing access to specific scientific and technological skills.

French multinationals, for their part, do not seem to have missed the boat. Over the past fifteen years, the latter have increased their R&D spending in France… but also abroad. And this, in comparable proportions. The CIR did not therefore encourage them to relocate their R&D activities in France, but at least helped to keep part of them on the national territory.