Keywords: WBSO, R&D, Tax Credit, Startup, Employees, Self-Employed, Innovation, Development Projects, Technical Scientific Research.

The WBSO (R&D tax credit) is a Dutch Government tax incentive scheme that offers compensation for part of the research and development (R&D) wage costs, other costs, and expenditures. In practice the scheme reduces the payroll tax burden. The tax credit benefit depends on the legal form of your business. Self-employed persons are granted a fixed tax-deductible item for their R&D. In addition, start-up entrepreneurs can benefit from a supplementary credit. The Dutch government has made a budget of almost € 1.5 million available for the WBSO for the year 2021.

Who is eligible for the WSBO tax credit?

Every entrepreneur in the Netherlands planning to carry-out R&D can submit an application for a WBSO tax credit. The company can be of any size and can be working in any business field.

What kinds of R&D project are eligible?

The WBSO extends support to two types of project:

  1. Development projects

This concerns the development of technically new (components of ) physical products, physical production processes or sofware or their components;

  1. Technical scientific research

This concerns explanatory research that is technical in nature. ‘Technical’ refers to research in fields such as physics, chemistry, biotechnology, production technology, or information and communication technology. ‘Scientific’ relates to the objective and results of the research, as well as to the manner in which the research is designed and implemented.

WBSO tax credit benefits for entrepreneur without employees

Businesses that are liable for income tax, qualify for a fixed deduction when spending at least 500 hours per calendar year on R&D.

Newly self-employed persons, thus without employees, may qualify for an additional deduction.

In 2021, the R&D deduction for self-employed persons is € 13,188 and the additional deduction for newly self-employed persons is € 6,598.

WBSO tax credit benefits for company with employees

The benefit calculation for businesses being eligible for corporation income tax are based on:

  • the hours spent on R&D, which has to be reported in the application;
  • the R&D hourly wage, calculated on the basis of the citizen service numbers of R&D employees from 2 years ago or at a fixed hourly wage of € 29;
  • either a fixed amount or estimated amount for costs and expenses associated to an R&D project. The fixed amount being distinguished is:
    • € 10 per hour, spent on the R&D project for the first 1,800 hours;
    • € 4 per hour, spent on the R&D project in excess of 1,800 hours.

WBSO tax credit benefits for startups

Startup companies who receive an R&D declaration granting a benefit for new businesses may be able to make use of the customary salary scheme or the share option programme for startups.

If the startup wants to apply for the customary salary scheme and meets the required conditions, the startup may regard the statutory minimum wage as the customary salary or the salary for the position that is the most similar when this is lower.

A startup may withhold wage tax and national insurance contributions on 75% rather than 100% of this benefit, insofar as long this benefit does not exceed € 50k, when:

  • startups award share option rights are given to employees; and
  • employees exercise or alienate these rights.

Both schemes will lower the startup's wage tax liability. Startups can apply the customary salary scheme and/or the share option programme for a maximum of 3 years.

The innovation box

In the event that the company generates a profit from innovation activities, the company can make use of the innovation box. With the innovation box, the company can reduce its liability in respect of corporation income tax on profits from innovation activities. In that case, an effective tax rate of 9% rather than the maximum rate of 25% applies.

If you would like to know more about WBSO, please feel free to contact NAZALI (




This document provides general information on the subject and does not constitute a legal opinion or recommendation. Consulting a specialist is recommended before taking an action. No claim arising from the content of or relating to this document can be asserted against NAZALI.