To Open the Box or to Close the Box? "Patent Box" Tax Regimes in the EU between R&D Incentives and Harmful Tax Practices

Daniele Fabris


During the last few years, several EU Countries have enacted preferential tax regimes for the taxation of corporate income deriving from the exploitation of IP-rights. The aim of these regulations, known as “Patent Box”, is to foster domestic R&D. However, these new regimes may also constitute harmful tax practices, insofar MNEs can exploit them for avoiding taxes. To tackle this issue, the OECD, with Action 5 of the BEPS Project, has suggested to modify the current Patent Boxes in accordance with the so-called Nexus Approach, to align the fiscal advantages with a substantial R&D activity. This paper aims at assessing the foreseeable effects of the Patent Boxes and of the future implementation of the Nexus Approach, as well as the compatibility of the latter with EU law.


Patent box regimes; IP-related income; EU law; competition law; MNEs; research and development activity; Nexus Approach

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Copyright (c) 2019 Daniele Fabris

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