In contrast to New Zealand (see this post), France has announced that in 2009 it will refund all outstanding R&D relief which has not yet been used to reduce corporation tax – broadly, where the relief has been claimed by a loss-making company. Normally, a loss-making French company claiming R&D tax relief would need to wait three years before obtaining repayment. The move is part of a French proposed economic recovery plan.
The French R&D relief provides a credit of around 30% to 50% of the R&D expense incurred. The relief is given by deduction from corporate income tax owed by the company; repayment was previously only available where the relief could not be set against corporate income tax within three years of the relief arising.