Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades - Gobierno de España

Ciencia e innovación

Legal framework

The basic legal framework is the Science, Technology and Innovation Act 14/2011 that substitutes the 1986 Law on the Coordination and Promotion of Science.

Along with this basic legal framework of public policy funding RDTI by the Government is subject to:

  1. The Law on State Budget for the year 2014 (22/2013) which not only sets the fiscal effort (credits) for the policy of RTDI (Program 46) but also establishes general rules for applications.

  2. The General Subsidies Act (38/2003), together with its implementing regulation, forms the legal basis for the financing RTDI. It includes the procedures for granting funding/ aids d in competitive basis, the direct grants, and the general rules and obligations to be followed by grantees. This law affects repayable aid granted by the public authorities, and to a lesser extent, to those granted by public entities governed by private law. Furthermore, the principles of the General Subsidies Act apply to the grant by the Administration loans without interest or below market interest.

Other legislative initiatives have been approved by the Spanish Parliament with major impact on innovation, and more specifically on RTDI funded and conducted by businesses, such as:

  1. The Law 14/2013 of 27 September 2013, on support for and the internationalization of entrepreneurs. The Law provides a new legal framework to support human resources in research and innovation, including:

  • Visa for foreign investors.
  • High qualified professionals.

  2. In the months to come, the Government will launch a proposal for the General Subsidies Act that will replace the former one Ley 3872003.

Tax incentives

In spite of what it has been established in Corporate Tax Law, article 35, the Law 14/2013 of 27 September 2013, on support for and the internationalization of entrepreneurs incorporates changes to Spanish Corporate Income Tax concerning, among the issues at stake in these exercise: i) the tax credit for research, development and technological innovation activities (“R&D&I”) and ii) the reduction of amounts earned on certain intangible assets (“patent box”).

The most important amendments recently introduced are:

  • For tax periods commencing on or after, 1 January 2013, the tax credit for R&D activities has been significantly improved by removing the limit on the amount of gross tax payable against which it can be taken (subject to a 20% discount on its amount), and by allowing qualifying taxpayers to apply to the tax authorities for payment of the tax credit, albeit with the need to meet certain requirements.
  • The patent box tax relief, which consists of applying a reduced tax base for the grant of use of certain intangible assets, has also been substantially modified. This amendment establishes a 60% reduction over the total amount obtained (income minus expenses) in the intangible license.
  • A limit to the tax-deductible amortization/depreciation has been introduced, effective for the tax periods starting in 2013 and 2014, which provides that the book amortization/depreciation of property plant and equipment, intangible assets and real estate investments will only be deductible up to 70% of the amount that would have been tax-deductible.  Any book amortization/depreciation that is not tax-deductible by application of this limit will not be treated as impairment and will be deducted, starting in the first tax period commencing in 2015, on a straight-line basis over a period of ten years or during the asset’s useful life, whichever is chosen by the taxpayer.


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