Beltug Opinion on copyright for software creation
Is software creation ‘creative’ work? The answer is critical for software developers, in order to benefit from advantageous tax rates.
04 / 03 / 22
Specifically, original works of authorship can be protected by copyright. This may include everything from literary, musical and dramatic works, to motion pictures, sound recordings, compilations and more.
In Belgium, remuneration for copyrighted material is taxed at a rate lower than the general income tax rates – a significant benefit for ‘creative professionals’.
Beneficial tax breaks for ‘creative’ professionals
However, Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V), Minister of Social Affairs Frank Vandenbroucke, and Minister of the Economy Pierre-Yves Dermagne, are concerned that the system may be being used by some people solely to take advantage of the tax breaks, and not in the spirit of the original intention.
They want to reconsider the extensive scope of the definition regarding which ‘creative professionals’ may benefit from the tax-friendly scheme – including whether software creation should be included.
Software creation is ‘creative’
After meeting with the Cabinet Van Peteghem, Beltug has drafted an Opinion outlining why we believe software creation should be considered ‘creative’, and benefit from the advantageous tax rates.
This is as important for the Belgian economy as for the individual software creators themselves. In particular, it is critical for the ongoing digital innovation in our country, and for stimulating Research and Development. Furthermore, there is a lack of software creators in Belgium; we need to attract talents to this crucial sector, and to create a more competitively balanced environment for start-ups and scale-ups.
In the Opinion, Beltug makes several suggestions on how to improve the situation, including greater transparency and clarity on which activities are eligible, making use of the expertise available in the Intellectual Property department of the FPS Economy, fighting abuses of the system, and reconsidering the limits for fixed cost deductions.