Staff expenses relating to researchers and research technicians directly and exclusively assigned to R&D operations are eligible for R&D tax credit (French Tax Code, Art. 244 quater B, II b). Article 49 septies G of Annex III to the French Tax Code specifies that research technicians “are staff working in close collaboration with researchers to provide the technical support indispensable for research and experimental development work”.
In a decision dated 24 February 2021 (no. 429222), the State Council reconsidered the notion of research technician within the meaning of the R&D tax credit and stated that “employees who carry out operations which are necessary for research or experimental development work, eligible for the research tax credit, under the supervision of one or more researchers, may be qualified as research technicians, without the circumstance that they do not have a diploma or professional qualification in the scientific field”.
These employees were placed under the authority of the technical director responsible for the research work and contributed to defining the functional requirements to be fulfilled and to developing the applications to be implemented within the framework of the project in the appropriate computer languages (carrying out functional tests and analyses).
The qualification of research technician should be based on the work actually carried out by the employee and the supervision of that staff, and not on their diplomas or professional qualifications.
The qualification of research technicians within the meaning of the R&D tax credit had already been accepted by appeal courts for staff without a diploma or professional qualification in a scientific field (e.g. sales staff, or holders of a non-scientific master’s degree) provided that their technical support was deemed essential to the research work (cf. in particular CAA Paris 7/11/2013 no. 12PA01442, SAS Falguière Conseil)