The so-called ‘innovation box’ should, if it is up to PvdA Member of Parliament Henk Nijboer, be abolished. Companies that innovate receive a tax reduction, but in practice it is mainly large companies that benefit from the scheme. ‘Whatever you think of, the largest part always ends up with the large companies that do more with share buybacks than investments.’
Chip machine manufacturer ASML and booking platform Booking benefited greatly from the scheme last year: together the companies saved 1.2 billion euros. That led to criticism, because small companies benefited much less. According to Nijboer, the scheme thus misses its target, because it is precisely the smaller companies that should benefit from an innovation deduction. ‘We should actually shift the tax burden to the large companies, but this is not the case,’ says Nijboer.
If it’s up to Nijboer, the innovation box in its entirety can go out the window. ‘We are making the tax system simpler with that,’ he says. He also sees no added value in adjusting the scheme: ‘You can fine-tune it again, but the tax authorities are already busy enough.’
Moreover, the PvdA politician believes that there is already a regulation for innovation: the Research and Development Promotion Act (WBSO). Under this scheme, companies can be reimbursed for the wage costs of staff, provided that they have been invested in development and research. Companies can also deduct costs and expenses incurred for the same purpose from the tax. According to Nijboer, this scheme works much better than the innovation box and more efforts should be made on it.
At the moment, companies still receive a discount on corporate income tax thanks to the innovation box. ‘We simply need a clear profit tax,’ says Nijboer. ‘The big advantage of this is that companies are only taxed if they actually make a profit. Large companies currently contribute too little to our collective facilities. It is therefore time for the tax burden to be shifted.’