CIR: Clarification on the eligibility of legal work

The EC decides on the eligibility of legal work carried out by a doctoral student in a law firm.

In this case, the applicant company, which operates as a lawyer, was seeking repayment of its CIR corresponding to personnel expenses incurred in respect of an employee working on a doctorate in law, who had carried out dissertation research on the particularities of divorce proceedings.

The Conseil d'Etat judges confirmed that, as a matter of principle, legal research is not excluded from the scheme. On the other hand, personnel costs for a doctoral student in law carrying out her thesis research on divorce proceedings do not meet the eligibility criteria for inclusion in the CIR base.

The Conseil d'Etat relies on articles 244 quater B of the CGI and 49 septies G, which specify "Research tax credits are available for personnel expenses relating to researchers and research technicians directly and exclusively assigned to carrying out scientific and technical research. Research carried out in the field of law is not in principle excluded, legal research carried out by an employee of a law firm, the purpose of which is to identify applicable legal provisions and analyze existing legal practice in a given field, is not eligible for this tax credit in respect of related personnel expenses. In ruling that the personnel expenses incurred by an employee holding a doctorate in law, carrying out thesis research on the particularities of divorce proceedings within the applicant company, could not give rise to entitlement to the research tax credit, the Bordeaux Administrative Court of Appeal, whose ruling is sufficiently reasoned on this point, did not commit an error of law or give the facts set out an erroneous legal characterization."

This ruling demonstrates once again the requirement of judges regarding "scientific and technical" sciences

It confirms the Paris Administrative Court of Appeal's decisions No. 12PA05A44 and 13 PA O1264 of November 2014, which had ruled that activities related to research of a legal nature conducted by a doctoral student in law were ineligible.

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