Science and technology

Measuring Tax Support for R&D and Innovation


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Governments worldwide increasingly rely on tax incentives in addition to direct support measures (e.g. grants) to promote R&D in firms and encourage innovation and economic growth.  The OECD has developed methodologies and a detailed database on R&D tax incentives with the latest indicators on the cost and information on the design and scope of R&D tax incentives.


Latest news, November 2019: Release of the OECD STI Working Paper "Measuring R&D tax support: Findings from the new OECD R&D Tax Incentives Database". This paper provides a practical guide to the OECD R&D tax incentive database, and presents new evidence on the role of R&D tax incentives in the R&D support policy mix over time. This paper highlights the potential of the database as an analytical tool by assessing the effectiveness of R&D tax incentives in stimulating business R&D investment, based on a cross-country study of the link between government support for R&D – direct and tax support–and business R&D in OECD member countries over the 2000-16 period. 


The OECD R&D tax incentive database, launched in November 2018 and integrated in the OECD Corporate Tax Statistics database, contains the latest time-series estimates of government tax relief for R&D tax expenditure (GTARD) and implied marginal R&D tax subsidy rates across OECD and partner economies. These data highlight trends in the magnitude of tax incentive and direct support for business R&D from 2000 to 2016 and the notional levels of R&D tax subsidy by firm size (SME, large firm) and profit scenario (profitable, loss-making) from 2000 to 2018.










Design and scope of R&D tax incentives


microBeRD: the impact of R&D tax incentives

The OECD is working on a n micro-data project which applies a “distributed” approach to the empirical analysis of micro-data. The microBeRD project investigates and models the incidence and impact of public support for business R&D in collaboration with national experts with access to confidential R&D and public support micro-data. This approach facilitates a co-ordinated statistical analysis of the impact of tax relief design features and their interaction with direct forms of public R&D funding by exploiting variation in support within and across countries.


Related work and publications

The new R&D tax credit and patent box proposed in the Legge di Stabilità 2015, OECD policy brief, April 2015.

Maximising the benefits of R&D tax incentives for innovation, OECD policy brief, October 2013.

OECD Corporate Tax Statistics Database

OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project


OECD (2018), “Tax incentives for R&D and innovation”, in OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2018: Adapting to Technological and Societal Disruption (An Introduction to the STI Outlook 2018)

OECD (2017), OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2017: The digital transformation, OECD Publishing, Paris.

OECD (2015), Frascati Manual 2015: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development, The Measurement of Scientific, Technological and Innovation Activities, 7th edition, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD work on knowledge-based capital 

OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators Database

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